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'I found it pretty easy': Rockhampton's newest female coaches relish challenge

The results may be working out well as they prepare for the pointy end of Rockhampton junior finals, but it wasn't the driver behind Mackayla Champion and Gabby Yarrow picking up the clipboard.

Yarrow, 18, has been at the helm of the Rockhampton Tigers, who are locked into the under 17 girls' decider on June 8, while 18-year-old Champion has been coaching Yeppoon Seagulls, who face a preliminary final this weekend.

The motivation has simply been to give back to the game which has already given them so much, enabling them to rise to be part of the Central Queensland Capras pathways.

Champion, who has played Harvey Norman Under 19s for the Capras in just about every position, said it was rewarding to see the new players and progressing talent emerge through the season.

"At the start of the season there were some girls who had played only one or two games and weren't really sure position wise where they sat within the team, but coaching them it's been really good to see the girls grow and from day dot," she said.

They've had determination no matter hard or physical the game gets, they just stick it through and some girls have even built the confidence to play in multiple position and try out new things, which has been awesome."

Champion, who plays for Brothers in the open women's competition, said her pathway into coaching was down to the influence of Capras' Harvey Norman Under 19s assistant coach Scott Curtis and local NRL game development office Luke Haliwell, which started with a call-out to support clinics.

From there it was a matter of completing online courses and a handful of in-person sessions to get her qualification, to use alongside what she has learnt from dozens of coaches over the years.

"For me it was pretty easy, being around football so much on what coaches do and how to act. The training was pretty relatable to the sport, which was good, but I found it pretty easy and straightforward," Champion said.

"We need more women in the industry, so that in itself is pretty powerful and training is pretty easy, pretty straightforward and if you devote your time to it, it comes to you.

"Every session you learn something new and it's good because you get people skills, learn how to deal with different attitudes, different kids and meet the parents and widens your whole view and it helps you not only build as a person, but you can help other people build too."

Champion said the lessons from coaching would also provide a useful cross-over as she studied to become a personal trainer.

Yarrow, who recently made her BMD Premiership debut for the Capras, thought it would be a good experience and a way to give back to the Tigers, where she played juniors all the way through from five years old.

"One of my family friends at Tigers sent me the courses and I enrolled and... it was pretty easy, I enjoyed it and it was good learning and good stuff to know," she said.

"It's just a good learning experience and you get to teach the younger kids and they look up to you as a role model and it's inspiring.

"The girls are loving it, they're enjoying it and the girls make me proud."

For more information on coaching and other education courses, contact your local association or visit the NRL Online Learning Centre.

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