Kelly dedicates Origin medal to her late mum
NSW Blues centre Isabelle Kelly had an angel watching over her as she become the first woman to receive the Nellie Doherty medal for Player of the Match in Friday night's State of Origin.
The Australian Jillaroo proved to be all class at North Sydney Oval, bagging two of the Blues' three tries in their 16-10 win over Queensland.
She dedicated her player of the match performance to her late mum, who passed away in 2013.
Kelly's mum never got to watch her daughter play rugby league but the 20-year-old knew she was looking down on her as she took part in the historic women's Origin game.
"Mum would be so proud right now," Kelly told NRL.com.
"She never got to watch me play rugby league but she's the reason why I play. I know she was looking after me throughout the game and would be so happy right now."
Kelly played touch football before making the switch to rugby league off the back of the support from her family.
The Kelly family were in stands at North Sydney Oval cheering her on. Kelly spoke how they are so important to her, in particular having her dad there who has been her inspiration.
"I play for my dad as well, he went through so much and I just think when I get out there that I can do anything because that's what he's instilled in me," she said.
"My family is so important to me, I think when you have something that happens like that in your family you really hold tight to all of them.
"I love them all; they are always supporting me; and to have them here and be so proud of me is an unreal feeling. It just makes my reason of playing rugby league that bit better."
Full of excitement and pride, Kelly said there were no words to describe the feeling of being the first Women's State of Origin winners. The interstate match has been played before but never under the Origin banner.
"To be the first team to get that Origin title, it's unreal and I honestly can't tell you what it means to me because there's no words to describe this feeling," Kelly said.
"We had confidence in ourselves that we could do it but the Queenslanders gave it to us the whole time."
Coach Ben Cross gave the girls two pieces of advice before they ran out onto the field: [a] to do their job and [b] put on a show for the crowd.
Kelly recalls the roar of the crowd and adrenaline she felt running out to a packed North Sydney Oval as one she'll never forget.
"Before we went out there Crossy said to everyone go out and do your job and show the crowd what we're made of and I think that's exactly what we did," Kelly said.
"The feeling was insane when we ran out onto the field, with the fire [torches] lighting up the stadium, the crowd was going crazy. I was like 'Wow this is really happening?' but I loved every second of it.
"I just made sure that I soaked it all up and took it all in."