Kailah's rugby league road map

While many stories have been shared in admiration of Kailah Rogers and her unfaltering love of rugby league, what can sometimes be overlooked is the fact she's actually pretty good at playing the game. 

Rogers, who lives and works in Longreach, but plays and trains in Emerald (enduring an eight-hour round trip each time), was one of the players selected in the QRL's recent Harvey Norman Women’s Development squad (supported by QAS). 

While the recent camp will no doubt unearth some future Queensland representative stars – its purpose was more to provide promising talents such as Rogers with 'elite'-style training and to in turn, help lift the standard of play across the various women’s A Grade competitions.

For the Emerald Cowgirl - who was joined in the January 19-20 camp by team mates Elle Stitt and Deborah Barchard, learning from QRL representative coaches Mark Ross and Aaron Zimmerle was a fantastic opportunity.

“I was really stoked (to be selected) ... it’s been a great experience," the fullback told QRL Media on the final day.

"I have learnt a tonne in the past few days... defence is something (that this camp has really helped). I can tackle; but I have always felt that it was my downfall.

“We did a drill (yesterday) that really put it into perspective for me, so I think I will practise that a lot as I think it will really help me in that aspect.”

While she was named the 2018 Central Highland’s Most Valuable Women's Representative Player of the Year, the office manager has worked hard for every chance she’s had in her playing career and knows she can't afford to rest on her laurels given the burgeoning crop of talent shooting up in the women's game. 

“I know with the game growing as fast as it is, the difference from the first year I played 47th Battalion to last year was phenomenal,” Rogers said.

“It’s good though; it’s really good for the game, it’s only going to go forward... it’s building at the grassroots.”

The triumphs of Central Division-based stars like Chelsea Baker and her good friend Mariah Storch have also shown her that while it can be tough; the tyranny of distance from traditional rugby league strongholds is no longer a barrier to success.

Both players were selected for the Queensland Women’s State of Origin team last year and capped off season 2018 with an NRLW premiership with the Brisbane Broncos.

“For sure, I have contemplated moving,” Rogers said.

“(But) Mariah has said to me if you can achieve your goals from (where you are) and you enjoy being there; then why leave?

“(Central Highlands) is a really nice comp to play in ... it still has that old school (feel) to it, the whole community gets behind it and I like that about it.”

Rogers previously played with the Clermont Bears in the same competition, winning the premiership in 2017; but also spent time playing juniors further inland with the Charleville Tigers.

While there, she ran around alongside another friend who has made the ascent into the NRL ranks.

Kailah Rogers and Kurt Capewell were Under 8 team mates in Charleville. Photo: supplied
Kailah Rogers and Kurt Capewell were Under 8 team mates in Charleville. Photo: supplied

She and Cronulla Sharks star Kurt Capewell recently staged their own Under 8 team of 2001 reunion after the former Ipswich Jet texted her to invite her along to catch up with the travelling crew during their stopover in Longreach as part of the QRL's recent Drought Relief Tour.

“I was out for a run and came back had a message on my phone from Kurt saying, ‘hey mate, how you going; just to let you know we are in town, come down and we’ll have some beers and catch up’,” Rogers laughed.

“I rang dad, 'cause my dad actually used to play footy with his dad as well, so he came down as well and it was good. It’s a small world!”

With the inspiration of her friends, the knowledge gleaned from the camp and armed with a carefully curated playlist to help her pass the time when she's on the road for football – “I listen to a lot of music! I can go from Jay Z to the Bee Gees!” – Rogers is heading in the right direction to achieve her rugby league goals.