Each day this week, for Women in League round we will be profiling different women who make significant contributions to rugby league in the Canberra region.
The Gunning Roos may be a small club from a country town, but what it may lack in size is made up for with a lot of heart, soul and family. And it all starts with Kathy Johnson.
Kathy Johnson has been President of the Gunning Roos for the last three years, joining her son Tom, who was already at the club.
Affectionately known as “mum” amongst all the players, Kathy has a strong bond with everyone at the club.
Her daughter-in-law, Christie Johnson, plays for the Gunning Rooettes in the George Tooke Shield league tag competition, and recently celebrated her 50th game for the club. Kathy’s son, and Christie’s husband, Tom currently plays hooker for the Gunning Roos men’s side.
Kathy became involved at the club after son Tom thought she’d be the perfect person the club needed.
“I became involved because Tom was coaching the Roos. I had just gone through chemo and cancer treatment and I was in remission and Tom said ‘how about you come onboard Mum, this needs sorting out’ so here I am,” Kathy said.
The thing that Kathy emphasises most is the real family culture that Gunning have grown, something that makes her proud.
“A lot of our players are parents with little children, which makes it very special too. The mums play, the dads are there looking after the kids,” Kathy said.
“It’s a family club, we’ve always said we wanted a family club and we want to involve everyone from the club. Last year we had a children’s clinic, but we aren’t allowed to hold it this year due to COVID. We are very keen to get that going again.”
Kathy and the club have also undertaken many fundraising events, raising money for different charities.
“We’ve raised quite a bit of money since we’ve been involved for charities. We did MS and Bears of Hope, that was a big one last year, we raised heaps of money for that one, those affected by loss of babies.”