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'So proud': The star behind New South Wales' Women's State of Origin success

By AAP
(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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If Isabelle Kelly has played a better game than her Women’s State of Origin masterpiece, she can’t think of it.

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How about 192m, 13 tackle busts, 78m post-contact, a line break and the match-sealing try to ensure the shield would return to NSW for the first time since 2019?

The centre was a straightforward choice for the Nellie Doherty Medal on Friday night, although the humble 25-year-old tried to downplay her efforts after steering the Blues to a thrilling 20-14 win at Canberra’s GIO Stadium.

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“She says to me, I didn’t think I did anything … I was like, okay,” NSW coach Kylie Hilder said with a laugh.

“Every time she comes out and plays a game, that’s how she performs and she gives her all.

“I’m just so lucky that she gets to play on my side and I get to coach her, and I’m so proud of her effort tonight.”

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Of her sealing try, made possible after she danced around Maroons’ defenders and found the corner, Kelly struggled to find the words to encapsulate her emotions.

“I was in a bit of trance to be honest, but it was amazing,” she said.

“We spoke about it all week just with our shape and staying composed and just building pressure, and I think that’s exactly what we did.”

Kelly adds the Origin success to her NRLW premiership earlier this year, part of the Sydney Roosters side that knocked off St George Illawarra in the grand final.

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“It was really special … I’ve had a very lucky year and that really tops the cake with that one,” she said.

“The bond seems pretty strong, it is so strong … we’ve been building towards this for two years, but I just knew that we had the right people in the right positions this time.”

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