Wily hooker Krystal Rota has developed into one of the most prominent players in women’s rugby
league in recent years.
As a promising 22-year-old Rota – the daughter of highly-regarded form Otahuhu centre Roger –
made the Kiwi Ferns’ training squad for the first time but missed out on the 2008 Rugby League
World Cup team.
After taking a three-year break from the game, Rota earned a breakthrough call-up for the inaugural
Kiwi Ferns v Jillaroos series at the 2015 NRL Auckland Nines. Three months later she debuted off the
bench in New Zealand’s Anzac Test loss to Australia.
Rota was promoted to the No.9 jersey for the corresponding Anzac Test clash in 2016, scoring a try
in the Kiwi Ferns’ 26-16 victory in Newcastle. She retained her spot for the 2017 Anzac Test loss to
The dynamic dummy-half was named Auckland Women’s Player of the Year in 2017 after helping
Manurewa to premiership success and overcame an eye injury suffered in the grand final to take her
place in New Zealand’s RLWC squad.
Rota was a mainstay during the tournament and featured at hooker in the Ferns’ gallant defeat to
the Jillaroos in the thrilling final.
A key member of the all-conquering Counties-Manukau provincial team, Rota joined Papakura
Sisters in 2018. She then played all three games in the Warriors’ historic NRLW campaign.
Rota was named co-captain for the Māori All Stars’ inaugural encounter with the Indigenous All Stars
during the 2019 pre-season. The 33-year-old scored the winning try and received the Trish Hina
Medal as player of the match. She contributed 19 tackles and 94 running metres to the Kiwi Ferns’
mid-season win over Samoa.
Another grand final triumph with Papakura followed, while Rota was one of the Warriors’ standouts
in the 2019 NRLW. She again played all three games and averaged 30 tackles and 80 metres, as well
as producing two try-assists.
Rota starred in the Kiwi Ferns’ World Cup Nines success and was at hooker again for the subsequent
Test loss to the Jillaroos in Wollongong.