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Hilda Peters took part in the Warriors' 2020 NRLW campaign. © NRL Photos.

Few siblings have achieved more in New Zealand rugby league than the Peters sisters, and this month they celebrated having a new competition named in their honour with a special on-field reunion in Queensland.

Having last played together in 2019 as members of the Māori women’s side at the Harvey Norman NRL All Stars, Hilda, Rona and Kahurangi Peters took the field for Queensland’s Runaway Bay club on July 9, with the bonus of having their 18-year-old niece Atlanta with them in the team as well.  

It added to an already special month for the family, after finding out the Peters Sisters Competition – which has grades for senior women and U-16 girls – was being formed in their home region of Northland, New Zealand.

Hilda, who was a member of the inaugural Warriors NRLW squad, said what had originally been planned as a holiday quickly became an opportunity to get the band back together at Runaway Bay, where younger sister and Titans player Rona is the captain/coach of the women’s team.

Hilda, Rona, Atlanta and Kahurangi Peters after their game for Runaway Bay this month.
Hilda, Rona, Atlanta and Kahurangi Peters after their game for Runaway Bay this month.

“I hadn’t seen my family in Australia in three years and Rona, being the very smart one she is, sent over an international transfer for me a month before my trip,” Hilda told NRL.com.

“I hadn’t played with my sisters since 2019, so it had been a while and I knew I wanted to play with my sisters again.

“We ran onto the field and I looked around and I could hear my sister’s voice saying ‘yeah, I got you’.

It kind of just brought this immense pride back, it’s a spiritual thing, you just know your sister is there and she has your back.

Hilda Peters

“There was my two sisters and my niece playing that day and it was just a beautiful feeling.

“I am so proud of Atlanta. Being in New Zealand I have only been able to watch her via live streaming, so to not only see her play, but play alongside her was such a highlight.

“She’s definitely like her aunties in terms of defence and she gets in there, but on attack she’s got wheels and I feel like she might have got that from the other side of the family!”

For Atlanta, who this year made her debut for Tweed in Queensland’s BMD Premiership and was in the wider Queensland U-19 squad, it was the chance to fulfill a goal she set back in 2019 when she was in the crowd for the All Stars match.

“That was the moment I realised it one of my goals and dreams to play with my aunties, at any level, and for them to be around me on the field meant the world to me,” Atlanta told NRL.com.

Match Highlights: Indigenous Women's All Stars v NZ Maori Women's All Stars

“I felt so safe with them on the field and it was a buzz.

“And now they have a competition named after them! Man, that’s cool, they are such big role models for everyone back home and it’s so cool they have that.”

Hilda meanwhile hopes the formation of the Peters Sisters Competition can inspire more women to get involved in rugby league in the region, which in the early years of the Kiwi Ferns supplied plenty of national players, but in more recent times has struggled.  

“I have nieces, cousins and aunties up there with talent, but we never see it because there’s been no consistent competitions for females,” Hilda said.

“But I do think it’s a sleeping giant… there’s going to be some massive talent that comes out of that place.

“It means so much to us to have the competition carrying our name, and because we are from that area it’s not just a whānau thing, it’s a tribal thing, and it’s for everyone.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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