Rugby League

State of Origin’s oldest player hangs up the boots at the age of 44

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NSW star Kylie Hilder has declared she is "definitely retired" after an unexpected late call-up in the women's State of Origin clash on Friday night.

At 44 years of age, Hilder ran onto Sunshine Coast Stadium following a back injury to Keeley Davis and became the oldest player in history to pull on an Origin jersey.

At 44-years old, Hilder ran onto Sunshine Coast Stadium following a back injury to Keeley Davis and became the oldest player in history to pull on an Origin jersey. Credit:NRL Images

It was only until Hilder ran out onto Sunshine Coast Stadium that the reality of the situation hit.

"We were about to kick off and the nerves really hit," she said. "I hadn't played footy for about six weeks so I knew that first tackle and that first hit was going to hurt."

Hilder proved instrumental in the Blues effort, providing steel to the pack. However, her comeback wasn't enough to stop the Maroons on Queensland turf.

"I had faith in the girls around me," she said. "It would have been nice, as my last game of rugby league, it would have been nice to finish with a win, but I'm just super proud of the girls and the effort we put in the last 15 minutes."

NSW stormed back from 24-6 down to nearly take an unlikely victory.

For Hilder, the Blues camp in itself was the perfect way to leave the game.

"Just the bond that we've formed as a group over the last two weeks has been awesome," she said. "That's memories I will never forget. This whole experience has been something I will never forget.

"I can walk away from the game holding my head high knowing that football, it's a game, but forming relationships and friendships means a lot more than losing a game of footy."

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