ALEXANDRIA: As the NRL holds its annual Women in League Round to honour the contributions of women to the game, the Alexandria Rovers are leading the way. This year over a third of the coaching staff comprises women. One of our two Under 8 teams has an all-female coaching staff and at the time of writing is deeply entrenched in the top four.
The days of the dads doing the coaching and the mums working in the canteen and doing the fundraising are long gone. Head down to Erskineville Oval each Sunday and you will see the dads helping out in the canteen.
One team official is football champion Eunice Grimes, who is the trainer of the club’s Under 11 Division One team. I sat down with her to ask a few questions about her football career.
Eunice, how old were you when you first started playing rugby league?
Five years old.
What has been your highlight so far on the field?
Being selected each year for the NSW Indigenous v All Stars Game.
Being an elite athlete, how many training sessions do you do each week?
I train twice a week with my team, I do a personal session each week with a private trainer, plus I do the session with the Rovers teams, plus play the game each weekend.
What advice do you pass onto the kids in your team?
Football is a team game, you can be the best player in the team, but if you have the wrong attitude you won’t succeed on the field as an individual and you won’t succeed as a team on a whole.
What’s harder, playing in front of 30,000 people or training 17 boys all aged 10 and 11?
The boys for sure, especially when they don’t listen, they all have ears but have selective hearing at times.
When you visit schools and community carnivals what do you tell the young girls you talk to about footy?
Enjoy themselves, play Oztag if there is no footy in their area, join a local club and help out, do your league safe course and become a trainer with a kids team. The main thing is to participate and have fun and lead a healthy lifestyle.
You have been appointed to the coaching staff for the Sydney Indigenous Rugby League Teams this year, which must be exciting for you.
Yes it is, these young men all have been given a chance to go to the next level, and hopefully I can help them and contribute to their development both on the field as players and off it as young men growing into adulthood.
So there you have it. Whether you’re an elite player or a mum or dad helping out with a team, there is a role for everyone at a rugby league club. Our organisation is grateful for the contribution that women have made to the club and hopefully we will have even more involved next year, adding to the legacy and proving we are family.