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Keysha Roberts

Keysha after victory with the Brisbane Natives team at the Murri Carnival

Keysha after victory with the Brisbane Natives team at the Murri Carnival

Keysha’s rugby league run of success

At a time when most rugby league players have hung up their boots for the season and are reflecting on the year that was, Keysha Roberts raised the bar with an unbelievable month of football at end of season competitions.

The proud Bundjalung and Wiradjuri woman is a highly sought after rugby league commodity and has been recruited into some of the most talented and competitive women’s rugby league teams in Australia.

Keysha kicked off her Maroons-esque run in late September playing for the Brisbane Natives at Queensland’s premier Indigenous rugby league competition, the Murri Carnival. Keysha played six games over the weekend, culminating in a final victory to the Natives against Gundalu Gadyu 22-4.

A week later, Keysha teamed up with the Redfern All Blacks at the famous Koori Knockout tournament held at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney. A total of 26 women’s teams competed at the tournament. Up against a number of Jillaroo representatives, Keysha’s team the Redfern All Blacks prevailed with a 12-8 win against Dunghutti in the final.

The next step of this rugby league journey was at the Townsville All Blacks carnival, with Keysha playing for Aja Girlz. It was the first time in nearly seven years women’s rugby league had been played at the Townsville All Blacks. Two women’s teams suited up to play two exhibition games with Keysha’s Aja Girlz winning both games against the Bowen Stingers.

The final challenge was at the National Indigenous Rugby League Championships (NIRLC) tournament held at Wollongong. More than 50 teams competed in the inaugural NIRLC in under 10’s, 12’s, 14’s, 16’s, women’s and men’s competitions on 21-22 October. Keysha played with the CQ Highlanders. Unfortunately, the CQ Highlanders did not make it into the final after being knocked out by the eventual competition winners the Gadhu Sisters.

A tireless second-rower, Keysha said she estimated she played 20 games over the four tournaments.

“Playing in these carnivals is all about everyone coming together and representing your mob and playing with family and friends,” Keysha said.

“Each of the carnivals has been an absolutely amazing experience.

“It’s an incredible feeling stepping out on the field and playing for the sister beside you and winning the carnival just makes everything that little more special,” she said.

Keysha works full-time at the Queensland Government’s Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships in the Culture and Economic Participation unit.

“It was pretty tough balancing playing all weekend, every weekend and then coming back for the full week of work,” Keysha said.

“Flying in from Townsville on Monday morning after the Townsville All Blacks Carnival and going straight to work was particularly tough but all in all it’s been a fantastic month and a bit of football.

“I am now looking forward to some rest and relaxation over the next few weeks and watching both Australian sides, Kangaroos and Jillaroos at the upcoming World Cup tournament,” she said.

Keysha will start pre-season with her club side the West Brisbane Pink Panthers on 13 November 2017.

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