Hard-working, kind, empathetic, and having genuine passion are just a few of the words used to describe each of the NSWRL Community Coach of the Year winners for 2021 in the annual NSWRL Volunteer of the Year Awards.
Valley Dragons Allan Brookman was named Coach of the Year (Male), for the work he has been doing to teach his young side how to play football and bring out the best of each individual in the team; while Pauline Wagner from Kyogle SRFLC, was named Coach of the Year (Female) for her passion and drive to promote women’s tackle competitions in the Northern Rivers area encouraging those of all skills to become involved.
“I’m blown away – it’s amazing. All I’ve wanted to do is build team spirit around having fun, being trustworthy and respectful," Brookman said
“It’s all about respect for yourself, your teammates, and the opposition. I’m proud that my boys are always positive and I love being their coach.”
Wagner wants to play her part in making sure girls have the avenues to play their chosen sport.
“That’s what pushes me even more to get better at coaching because in our area there’s not many clubs making the effort to bring in females, or to have girls tackling," Wagner said.
“For me while I’m relatively new to coaching I’ve got a passion to keep pushing so these young girls who really want to play, have the chance to play.”
2021 Origin series-winning NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler sent a special message to congratulate both winners.
“It’s fantastic we have people like yourselves developing our game out in the country regions,” he said.
“Without you, and without you showing care, we don’t get to develop the players into the Origin players that you see today that did so well over the last six weeks.”
The annual NSWRL Volunteer of the Year Awards recognise the invaluable contribution made by almost 30,000 people who give up their time as volunteers, officials, coaches and referees to ensure NSWRL is able to run Community Football at more than 700 clubs across the state. The awards also acknowledge the support given in the wider community as well as to the Rugby League community.