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John Lang leads the charge for women coaches

Premiership-winning coach John Lang says it's time to scrap the rugby league mentality that a woman's role in a club was to man the canteen and launder the jerseys and encourage them to coach.

Lang, a former Australian representative who coached Cronulla, Penrith and Souths, will host a seminar through the Caringbah De La Salle junior rugby league club early next month to provide women with what's been called an ''intimidation-free'' introduction to coaching.

He described the need to embrace greater female involvement as a ''necessity''.

''There is hardly any women involved in coaching … I've seen where women are involved in the game they do a good job,'' he said. ''To be brutally honest, there's a lot of blokes out there doing it badly and at a time when plenty of women are playing touch football, Oztag and women's rugby league I think there's many of them who'd do well.''

Lang suggested the seminar to former Wests Tigers chief executive Scott Longmuir, who is now president of Caringbah De La Salle, because he believed women generally ticked the boxes required to coach.

''The first thing a coach needs is a commitment to the child's well-being and it's sad to say some [males] don't seem to have that,'' he said. ''Yes, you do need to have a certain knowledge of the sport but if anyone starts off in mini-football, apart from the child's well-being, you only need a limited skill set. You don't think a woman who has played netball couldn't coach mini league? You need to get the ball down the end [in both sports]. In rugby league, a player needs to put the ball down over the line, in netball, it's through the hoop.

''There's plenty of girls with sports science qualifications and as a sport all we've ever had is them working in the canteen. It's a great resource that's being under-utilised.''

Sydney Roosters great Kevin Hastings was given his first taste of league when a Catholic nun coached his Mount Carmel primary school in Waterloo while Lang said his grandson's school team on the Gold Coast was coached by a woman who did a ''tremendous'' job. ''There are guys who can't coach much, they're terrible,'' he said. ''The only way they can justify their existence is by winning, it justifies their manhood.''

Longmuir, whose two sons play for De La Salle, decided to host the seminar after Lang stressed there was a need to encourage women to coach.

''The seminar is open to any woman who just want to understand and help their kids with the basics of the game,'' he said. ''I also see this seminar as a stepping stone for women to do their level 1 coaching course. I have no doubt it could be quite intimidating for women to attend a level 1 with 20 blokes … when I did the course again last year there wasn't one woman and, really, who could blame them? My other motivation for doing this is to encourage more girls to play rugby league. I don't think anyone playing league gets hurt that badly between the ages of six and 10, and the statistics support that view. I also think broadening the game at this level makes good business sense for the future of the NRL as well.''

For those interested in attending the seminar email John Lang and Cath Gorman will be the keynote speakers.

9 comments so far

  • It would mean a lot more if he was still coaching/competing for coaching jobs!

    Date and time
    January 05, 2014, 4:12AM
    • Can imagine a group like Ray Hadley,Phil Gould,Geoff Toovey,Fatty Vautin,Paul Gallen,Nate Myles,Mick Ennis,Blake Ferguson,Josh Dugan,Sam Burgess,Ben Barba,Russell Packer,James Tamou,Brett Stewart,Billy Slater and Todd Carney all releasing a joint statement endorsing John Lang's comments about more women in NRL coaching.........yeah right..............................................and pigs might fly....

      The Executor
      down at the pub
      Date and time
      January 05, 2014, 5:06AM
      • Plus you could add to the list, players like Reni Maitua Robert Lui,Anthony Watmough,
        Willie Mason,BJ Leiluia,Dylan walker and Tyrone Phillips

        Cyril Walkington-Smythe III
        Date and time
        January 05, 2014, 1:29PM
      • He's talking about getting women involved at at the grass-roots level i.e. mini and mod league, not NRL. Why would that list of players oppose women coaching kids and possibly progressing to other levels one day ? What makes you think that you speak on their behalf ?

        Date and time
        January 05, 2014, 3:23PM
    • I think women would be far less likely to let their ego get in the way of a fair and balanced attitude to running a junior footy club. Too many kids feel the pressure to win exerted by the coach far too early and it's no longer fun.

      Date and time
      January 05, 2014, 6:13AM
      • Marguerite Howard, wife of Wallaby and assistant coach Jake Howard & daughter of Wallaby & Randwick great, Cyril Towers coached The Southport School Rugby Teams in the late '80s & 90s with some very good league & union players coming thru' the ranks.

        Gold Coast
        Date and time
        January 05, 2014, 12:46PM
        • As long as they win the job on merit who really cares what sex they are.

          Date and time
          January 05, 2014, 6:00PM
          • Due to the growing number of single parent families, more and more women are already coaching at mini, mod and junior levels with great success.

            Teviot Bob
            Date and time
            January 07, 2014, 2:39PM
        • ....but who would wash the dishes?

          Date and time
          January 06, 2014, 10:17PM

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