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Indigenous All Stars forward Kaitlyn Phillips.

Indigenous forward Kaitlyn Phillips says honouring the legacy left by Bec Young will provide plenty of motivation in Saturday night's Harvey Norman All Stars match in Townsville.  

After making her NRLW debut for the Roosters last year, Phillips is ready to build on her debut at the senior level after getting a taste with the PM's XIII and All Stars in recent seasons.

Her next task is a switch to the front row following Young's retirement. The veteran prop said goodbye in 2020 having represented the Indigenous All Stars team in each of the eight matches the side has played.

At Queensland Country Bank Stadium she will look to set a platform against the likes of veteran Rona Peters, boom forward Kennedy Cherrington and Broncos prop Shannon Mato.

No easy feat.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm packing it," Phillips laughs, telling NRL.com.

Match Highlights: Indigenous All Stars v Maori Ferns

"But it might be an opportunity for me to be able to play prop in the future. It was so great to be able to play alongside Bec last year, who had been there a long time and who I have associated with growing up.

"I know how much the jersey means to her so to be able to pull on number eight, I'll try and do it some justice."

Unlike last year, where Phillips made her All Stars debut in a 10-4 victory, the 23-year-old will have some family support on the field with younger sister Lailee named on the bench.

Born in Orange, the pair began playing rugby league in 2018 in western NSW but have since moved to Tweed Heads with their mother 12 months ago.

The jersey means a lot … it's the acknowledgment of the sacrifice and resilience that many have made before us

Indigenous All Stars forward Kaitlyn Phillips

Their Indigenous heritage comes from their father Craig's side, who Kaitlyn said gave the family the "perfect" upbringing around their culture and sport.

"We've always identified as aboriginal and we're still in contact with Dad all the time and he's super proud of us," Kaitlyn said.

"To be able to play with my sister will be an extremely special experience. She's wanted this opportunity and I've been able to watch how hard she's worked to get it.

"The jersey means a lot … if I had to sum it up, it's the acknowledgment of the sacrifice and resilience that many have made before us.

"And the other is the gratefulness that we all hold for people when we're all there together and more importantly to inspire the next generation of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander girls coming through.

Indigenous Unity Dance

"It's more than just a game. It's an extremely unique experience and you can bring a whole group together very quickly even if you may not know each other for the most part.

"Before words are spoken or any team bonding needs to be done there's just an overwhelming feeling that we are already connected."

The Phillips sisters will return to Tweed Heads once the All Stars campaign is over and begin club football with the Seagulls, who have also signed Warriors captain Georgia Hale and Indigenous fullback Jaime Chapman for the upcoming BHP Premiership season.

 

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Tickets are available at NRL Tickets.