Mother to five is a league sensation

Joanne Wynyard - Papamoa Bulldogs under 17 rugby league coaching class.


When the Papamoa Bulldogs under 17 rugby league team runs out for their grand-final at Gordon Spratt Reserve this weekend, the coach won’t be barking at them from the sideline.

That’s not Joanne Wynyard’s style. “You know you have those vile coaches who show their male dominance over the boys.” Coach Wynyard works on respect – mutual respect.

And it has worked. Because two years ago she took much the same bunch of guys to a grand-final in the under 15s.

“I am just the mum type. I give them love and support, the things I want back from them and they give it back in heaps.”

Wynyard’s a bit frazzled when she’s talking to SunLive.

“Some of my boys play rugby on Saturday and league on Sunday.”

And she says the schools demand a commitment to rugby when it gets to the business end of the season.

“And injuries. So from a squad of 23, I am now struggling for numbers.”

A school trip has also cut into preparations.

“A woman coaching young rugby league players can have its difficulties,” says Joanne.

“And it’s only because they are of an age that they can think for themselves. So it’s a case of letting them know that we are [perfecting what we both know and putting it together on the park.”

And the Papamoa Bulldog under 17s have been doing that under the stewardship of Joanne Wynyard – played seven, won six, lost one. And a points differential of 384 for and just 163 against.

The mother, spectator and NRL devotee got drawn into coaching because “when you have a child playing a game you get involved. And they needed a coach”.

In the meantime, she has fashioned an enviable record as a female coach.

“That because I consider myself to be one of the brothers.” 

The Papamoa Bulldogs under 17s will play the Taupo Phoenix in the grand-final at Gordon Spratt Reserve at 1.15pm on Saturday.

“Make me very proud,” says the low key coach. “It makes it all worthwhile.”


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