Williams earns NSW Indigenous call-up

SHAILYN Williams has been handed a double honour, with the talented Griffith sportswoman selected to represent both her state and her heritage in rugby league next month.

The Group 20 representative league tag star will line up for the NSW Women's Indigenous side next month as part of the Festval of Indigenous Rugby League celebrations in Newcastle.

Williams and the 18-strong NSW team takes on a Queensland Indigenous selection on Saturday, February 8 at Hunter Stadium in a curtain-raiser to the Knights' encounter with the First Nations Goannas.

The only bush player selected in the side, Williams was chosen after starring at the Koori Knockout and surviving a second training camp in Sydney last month, and said she was honoured to have even been in contention.

"I'm a very strong believer in my culture and it's good to be able to do this for my family and my community," she said.

"I've been playing sport at a high level since I was young and I'm getting on in age, but it's good to be able to make a representative team like this."

Better known in Griffith for her exploits in league tag, Williams said she was relishing a return to full-contact rugby league.

"I've played since I was about 15 so I've got a few years under my belt," the crafty halfback said. 

"It's a bit of a change (from league tag) but it's alright I suppose, once you get used to it again. It's a big thing to adapt.

"These girls are always strong, they're built like brick houses and it's not going to be an easy game."

The week-long Festval of Indigenous Rugby League event has been introduced to take the place of the NRL All Stars match in the year after every World Cup.

And further representative honour could be available to Williams should she perform well - the best players will be picked for the Australian Women's All Stars team's forthcoming clash against the Jillaroos.

"There's another step to go there so we'll see what happens," she said. 

"But where I am at the moment, that's good enough - I'm happy."

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