To celebrate Women In League Week, Beyond the Mark is sharing different perspectives of women involved in rugby league. Lynne Curran is an Auckland Rugby League Board Director and Mt Albert Rugby League Club stalwart.
How did you get involved in rugby league?
I was born in a little country town in New South Wales, because that was where my dad was playing league at the time. This game has always been a pivotal aspect of my life. Cheering on sidelines, working in the tuckshop, manning the bar, being a ‘watergirl’… my involvement in rugby league has been lifelong. However, it wasn’t until my son started playing in 2006 that I became interested in the overall management and operations of grassroots footy at the club I’d grown up in – Mt Albert Rugby League. I was lucky to learn the ropes from other women with long-standing familial connections to the club and work with men on committees who were driven by a deep sense of loyalty and love of our club and for our game.
What advice would you give women trying to get into administration roles?
In this era we are increasingly stretched for time and in competition with a number of different codes for resources – getting involved in rugby league is easy. Put your hand up and your gumboots on and get amongst it! My experience in rugby league administration is that people underestimate us women. My advice to those who want to have a voice and effect change is to connect and listen, first. If I could do my time again I would focus on building relationships and my league knowledge because I’ve found this makes a big difference to being taken seriously at decision-making tables.
Who is your favourite league player and why?
This is tough…there are so many to choose from…Greg Inglis is one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen in our game. Speed, agility, strength, mindset…he’s the whole package and I love watching him tip a game on it’s head single-handedly. Overall though, Freddy Fittler is my all-time favourite, on and off the field he has been an awesome ambassador of our game.
What is your favourite league memory?
Lots of my fondest league memories are from Carlaw Park as a kid. One that really stands out is Grand Final Day – catching the bus with hoards of club people, sitting, jam-packed, on the concrete stand and singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in unison. Another awesome memory is when I was 16 years old, living in Brisbane. It was the year that the Super League had broken away from Australian Rugby League and they ran an international Tri-Series tournament as an alternative to State of Origin. The final was played in Brisbane and it ended up being the longest game of all time. Tied at 80 minutes, it went to overtime and after another 20 minutes of game play, it was tied again! NSW finally sealed the win when it went to Golden Point, after 104 minutes! Being a lone NSW supporter in a sea of Queenslanders was awesome after that epic victory!!!
What are your future plans in rugby league?
I want to continue to learn and grow in and through rugby league while contributing to positive outcomes for our community. I believe that as our game evolves along the continuum of professionalism, for men and women, our model of sport governance will inevitably need to change and mature as well. I think this is the case for many sport organisations transitioning from largely amateur beginnings to more complex levels of participation. To me, this is super exciting for rugby league in Auckland and I hope to be able to maintain my position on the ARL Board for the following term to be part of these kinds of developments.