A Kiwi Ferns rep at the 2008 and 2013 World Cups, Kathleen Wharton (previously Keremete) made a
remarkable rugby league comeback after a six-year absence to return to the Test arena at the age of
35 and play for the Warriors’ NRLW team.
The 25-year-old debuted at the ’08 World Cup as New Zealand blitzed the competition to retain the
trophy. She was a mainstay for the Kiwi Ferns until featuring again at the 2013 RLWC, which saw the
Jillaroos beat the defending champs 22-12 in the final.
Wharton hung up the boots to raise her family and concentrate on a career in youth justice but
watching the inaugural 2018 NRLW premiership stoked her competitive fires.
The back-rower was immediately included in the Māori All Stars team for their historic 2019 pre-
season clash with the Indigenous All Stars. She then helped Papakura Sisters to an Auckland club
grand final triumph and Counties-Manukau to NZRL National Competition success, before earning a
Kiwi Ferns recall for the mid-season Test against Fetu Samoa. Wharton marked her return with a try,
93 running metres and 19 tackles in the 46-8 win.
Wharton completed her stunning sporting renaissance by receiving a Warriors contract for the
second NRLW season, playing all three matches.
After representing Māori All Stars against Indigenous All Stars during the 2020 pre-season, Wharton was part of the Counties Manukau Stingrays side that took out the maiden Sky Sports NZRL National Women’s Premiership title.