Isabelle Kelly has dominated for a decade, said coach Jillaroos


Jillaroos coach, Brad Donald, has predicted the Sydney Roosters center Isabelle Kelly can dominate this game for a decade after the 21-year-old player won the RLIF Women's Golden Shoe award as the best female player at the international level.

Kelly, who became a match player in the historic State of Origin victory at NSW at the North Sydney Oval in June, was announced as the winner of the Golden Shoe at Leeds dinner on Wednesday night.

Australian team mate Ali Brigginshaw and Brittany Breayley, who both played for Brisbane's prime minister Brisbane, were selected as winners, along with Kiwi Ferns and St George Illawarra superstar Honey Hireme and British Georgia Roche, 2018 Women's Baja.

Kelly won the award after pioneering Jillaroos to a 23-16 defeat to Kiwi Ferns with two trials in last December's World Cup final at Suncorp Stadium and repeated efforts in Auckland last month.

On that occasion, he scored twice in the last 10 minutes when Jillaroos came from behind to get rid of Kiwi Ferns 26-24 and Donald revealed that Kelly had played a bigger role after switching from the left edge to mark Hireme in the middle of the right.

Donald said he was reluctant to choose one of the players in the Jillaroos squad but said Kelly was a worthy winner of the Golden Boot for his role in Australia's success.

"I think in terms of having influence at the international level over the past 12 months, there must have been some big contributors and some great team efforts by Jillaroos, including Ali and Britt, but Izzy's ability to complete the game was second to none," Donald said.

"In the World Cup final, there was a moment where Izzy made an extra effort to chase the ball very hard to get a 1000-1 victory in his hand and he scored to win the World Cup.

"Then in Auckland a few weeks ago, not too many people would realize that because of an injury [to Jess Sergis] in running the captain, we have players who are inexperienced in the centers opposite Honey and we have to make Izzy switch sides to signal to him.

"He finally got two tries and won matches for us. That was the kind of individual effort that stood out to me."

Since joining the Jillaroos team during Donald's first season as a coach in 2016, Kelly has taken advantage of every opportunity.

Coach Jillaroos, Brad Donald and Isabelle Kelly.
Coach Jillaroos, Brad Donald and Isabelle Kelly.
© Gregg Porteous / NRL Photos

He received the first chance to wear an Australian jersey on NRL Nines because of an injury and made his Test debut last year in Canberra in a similar situation when Sam Bremner was concussed on running the captain.

"He is only young and inexperienced around the game but he has all the qualities of Jillaroo," Donald said. "He only loves his feet and is around his friends.

"I can't think of anyone who has had more influence at the level of representation last year and he has the potential to get more than 10 or 12 years in front of him. Isabelle is 15 years younger than Honey, which still has a big impact on the game so he has gotten the world in his legs. "


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