Catch Honey Hireme while you can.

That's not just a message to the Fetu Samoa team against the Kiwi Ferns on Saturday, but also to the Auckland league public.

Hireme, who will captain the Ferns, is a wonder of the sport.

While there will be plenty of high profile talent on display — like Benji Marshall, Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jason Taumalolo — arguably no one taking the field at Mt Smart on Saturday has achieved more than Hireme.


She has a trophy cabinet full of past glories, with multiple World Cup campaigns for the Ferns (two titles), several individual awards, as well as her rugby feats in sevens and fifteens.

But she's also still relevant, a modern day marvel.

The 38-year-old was a stand out player in the inaugural NRLW competition last year with St George, before a brilliant display in the end of year transtasman test, engineering the Fern's second half comeback that fell just short.

She's one of the best female players this country has produced across either rugby code, and remains hungry for more.

"I'm still firing, ready to go," said Hireme. "So age for me is just a number. It used to get into my head, a lot of girls that I grew up playing with are all finished. "

Every year I reassess where I am at. Physically how my body is at, and mentally am I still wanting to do this? I keep getting yes for those questions, so I'll just keep going. I don't want to give up and finish when I know I've still got a bit more to give. "

A product of the Putaruru Dragons, Hireme made her Kiwi Ferns debut way back in 2002.

She has since featured in four World Cups (named player of the tournament in 2013). She has also won world titles with the Black Ferns sevens, and was selected in the World XV after the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup.


Hireme has a lot to juggle — she works fulltime for the Halberg Foundation, and has a 14-year-old son — but does it with aplomb.

"I've got smarter with my footy and my training as well," said Hireme. "I'm not out there flogging myself, week after week, I know exactly what I need in terms of my training, nutrition and if I can maintain it through the off season I feel good and ready to go. I do all those little one per centers a lot more, but that's okay, if it keeps me in the game."

Hireme still has goals to achieve — she recalls a conversation with Eric Rush, who played until he was 39 — but also is conscious of helping the next generation though.

"It's about keeping up with them and also bringing them along," said Hireme. "I'd step aside in a second if I knew there was a girl right behind me who is playing better than me.

But the competition also motivates me to push myself harder.

"These days I do more mental preparation than I do physical. And I have to, when I come into camp and the next youngest player is five or six years younger. I'm just grateful to have other 30 [somethings] in the camp, [as] I'm knocking on 40."

"It's the mental preparation that's getting me through, as well as self belief, and knowing I have more to offer these young players. If I can help then come through then that is my job done."

After Saturday, which is bound to be another career highlight, at a packed Mt Smart, the ageless Hireme will build towards another NRLW season, as she currently weighs up offers from two clubs.

"My whole career I've just wanted to make my family proud," said Hireme. "I know they are even more prouder now. My son especially, he is rapt to see me still doing what I love."