A burning ambition to increase female participation across the Northern Rivers region of Northern NSW has seen Pauline Wagner crowned the 2021 NSWRL Female Community Coach of the Year.
Wagner was nominated for her work at Kyogle SRFLC after being a driving force in ensuring the club fielded a team in both the 9s Tackle and Monarch Blues Tag competitions.
It was a tireless achievement considering she still plays Rugby League herself and it was only at the start of this season that she also decided to try her hand at coaching.
“I’m on a bit of a high at the moment,” Wagner told nswrl.com.au.
“I love helping others improve their own skills and that to me is why I love coaching so much.
“Seeing those improvements just motivates me more to be the best coach I can be for them.”
In trying to further the development of women’s Rugby League across the Northern Rivers region, Wagner has encouraged all participants to “have a go” regardless of their skill levels and also staged “get to know you” nights to bring the team closer together.
Wagner said she wanted to play her part in ensuring girls have the necessary avenues and confidence to go out and play the sport of their choice no matter what.
“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,” she 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.”
The NSWRL congratulates Wagner on her award with the number of female participants this season surpassing 20,000 for the first time in NSWRL history.
This season, the area which Wagner’s club, the Kyogle SRFLC, is part of, incorporating Northern Rivers, Group 1 JRL and Group 18 JRL experienced a 30 per cent growth on 2019 female participation.