MVP just the latest honour for Baker

Being named MVP for the three-match Jillaroos v Kiwi Ferns series at the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines is the latest honour on Chelsea Baker's rugby league resume that grows longer every year.

Now in her fifth year playing the game, Baker was player of the match in the Gladstone Wallabys' grand final win last year and has now been part of the Jillaroos squad for the past 12 months.

But for a family that lives and breathes rugby league, Baker's favourite trophy is one she shares with her husband, Matt.

Like Chelsea, Matt captains the Gladstone Wallabys and the in-house competition is as fierce as it is on the rugby league fields around Central Queensland. And while Matt's team went down to Calliope on grand final day, there was one trophy they shared at season's end.

"My husband loves the fact that he's got a footy player for a wife," said Baker.

"We often have competitions between ourselves. We both managed to get 100 points during the season last year so we're both on the same little plaque on a trophy.

"To me that is something that I'll never forget."

Using speed that made her one of the fastest girls in her age group coming through school, Baker scored four tries for the Jillaroos as they made a clean sweep of the series to record a win on New Zealand soil for the first time.

Prior to the Nines the Jillaroos were on the Gold Coast for a week-long training camp and for a mum of two such time away tugs at the heart strings.

"I've got a five-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter so it's been a lot of sacrifices, a lot of training around my kids and all of that," Baker told NRL.com.

"I've had to sacrifice time away from them – sometimes up to two weeks at a time – which is really hard.

"For me this is the first one we've outright won so it absolutely makes every drop of sweat and every minute away from my kids worth it.

"They don't understand it when it's time for me to go, they get really sad that I'm going to be away for a week and they ask why I can't only go for five days instead of seven.

"I did speak to them after the game [on Saturday] and they said they were all yelling for me on TV.

"I've got a little niece who is just starting to talk and she even watched it as well. It makes everything worth it."

Now studying to be a personal trainer and soon to join the NRL in a development capacity in her region, Baker began playing in 2012 with little knowledge of the possibility of representing Australia.

In her first season, games with the then Gladstone Raidettes would be up to six weeks apart and involve trips to Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emerald yet last year there were six teams in the Gladstone and District Rugby League's women's intercity competition who each played 10 games.

As the likes of Baker and Kody House have worked their way up and achieved selection for the Jillaroos Baker says the women's game has expanded exponentially.

"When I first started playing footy we had one team in our region to now having three local teams in our comp," Baker said.

"I think I read that it's the second-biggest comp outside of Brisbane which is outstanding seeing as though we've only been going for five years.

"It's just growing at an outstanding rate and the quality of the footy is near up there with the Brisbane comp which is really outstanding."