The Central Scorpions U13s coach, Leeanne Perez, became a coach four years ago when her twin boys who were at the time in U10’s, had no coach.
Leeanne saw that the boys were “unsupervised at training, so I just stepped in and it went from there”. The following year, Leeanne put up her hand to be the assistant coach of the team as she enjoyed it so much.
Unfortunately, the “actual coach was absent a lot due to work commitments” so once again, Leeanne’s role became coach as she went on to obtain her Level 1 certificate.
Leeanne says that it can “sometimes be difficult to be Mum and Coach”. She says that she has “always been careful to never show favoritism” toward her own boys.
“Sometimes it takes new players to the team, a little while to realise that I have twin sons, who play on the team,” she says.
“That is because I leave coaches talk for training, pre and post games and never involve them in coaching issues and decisions”. Leeanne says during the season she “sometimes feels like a Mum of 20!”.
The best thing about coaching in Leeanne’s eyes is “the challenge of bringing a diverse selection of children together and seeing them gel into a tight knit group of boys, who are great mates”.
Leeanne also gets a kick out of the boys displaying “confidence, self esteem and sportsmanship” no matter whether they are “super talented boys, or boys that play just for their love of the game”.
Over the weekend Leeanne’s U13’s, played the Ivanhoes at Redlynch. The Scorpions dominated the first half of the game with Eremiah Babia (13), Manessah Moevao (4) and Patrick Congoo (15) scoring tries. Both Tommy Akiba (1) and Heilum Luki (11) were unsuccessful in their first half conversion attempts.
At half time the score was 12-0, in the Scorpions favour. In the second half the Ivanhoes were first off the mark with an early converted try, but the Scorpions hit back just as quickly, with a try by Matt Gardiner (10) that was successfully converted by Heilum Luki (11).
Ivanhoes threw down the challenge with another try and Manessah Moevao (4) accepted the challenge and scored his second try for the game, further extending the Scorpions lead to 22 -10.
Ivanhoes managed one more try before fulltime, narrowing the Scorpions lead to 22–14. Nikki Mau (19) was named the Scorpions Man of the Match and Manessah Moevao (4) the Scorpions Forward of the Match.
Speaking to the boys after the game, I asked the boys whether Leeanne was a good coach. The answer was unanimous, “YES!”. The captain, Ben England (9) felt that Leeanne was a good coach because “she organises the team well by sending texts and giving us boys a lift”.
Bruce Hodges (3) stated that he liked Leeanne coaching because she “motivates us with treats”. Tayne Morrison (16) was quick to add that “Leeanne takes care of us”, whilst Pheonix Inglis (18) thought Leeanne was “like a mum” to all the boys, both “on and off the field” added Bryce Guard (2).
Jarred Tesch (14) added that Leeanne was always “concerned about you” no matter what. Liam Harley (6) was quick to reiterate that “lollies and chocolates” were what made Leeanne the best coach, Kyle Phoenix (5), Kingston Jacko (8), Nikki May (19) and Zac McCormack (20) all agreed whole-heartedly.
Manessah Moevao (4), Matt Gardiner (10), Ben England (9), Caleb Plithakis (7), Patrick Congoo (15) and Liam Harley (6) all stated that they thought Leeanne was a tough coach who did not tolerate them being “slack” or “lazy”.
Noah Perez (12) and his twin brother Guy agreed with their teammates, but think that Leeanne is way tougher on them. Guy Perez sustained an ankle injury in the first four minutes of their round 1 clash with Mossman, and has been watching his team from the sidelines ever since.
Noah thinks it’s “alright”, having his Mum Coach, but Guy says he doesn’t like it, as they don’t get “trophies and Man of The Match Awards … as much”. Leeanne’s boys may not be as enthusiastic as their teammates about having her as their coach, but deep down one would think they are both proud of their Mum’s achievements and what she has done for the team.
Leeanne would love to see more ladies doing their Level 1 Coaches course and thinks that “many women would love to but feel that because they haven’t played League, that they can’t coach”. When Leeanne first started coaching her expertise consisted of yelling “legs, legs boys!” but she loved it and “set out to learn” more.
Leeanne was pointed in the direction of the NRL’s Complete League Coach, which Leeanne describes as “an online coaching system that has age appropriate drills and skills” that helped her immensely. Leeanne encourages all women especially those that have “good knowledge of the game, the rules and a love of children and teaching” to have a go.
(A Huge thank you to Leeanne and the U13 Central Scorpions for your time)
NQ Women’s Championships
Over the weekend the NQ Women’s Championships were also held at West Barlow Park. Although this was not a junior event, the U16 CDJRL girls’ team played an exciting trial match against Djarragun College at the end of the carnival. The girls played well winning the game, showing great promise for the NQ Championships in Townsville next weekend. It was also great to see some ball girls out on the sidelines over the weekend.
The CDJRL representative teams travel to Townsville this weekend to participate in the NQ Championships and for Marlins selection. Good luck to all our boys and girls.