As club rugby seasons draw to a close around the country, entries have opened for Australian Rugby’s Community Coach of the Year Award. The award aims to recognise the efforts of the thousands of coaches around the nation who selflessly give their time to develop rugby talent in their communities.
A panel, including Qantas Wallabies coaching staff, will select the final winner who will receive their award at the John Eales Medal night on 27 October and a special visit to their club from a Qantas Wallabies coach.
This year, the award has been renamed the Geoff “Bunter” Shaw Community Coach of the Year Award, after former Wallabies Captain Geoff “Bunter” Shaw who devoted his life to rugby and was inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame in 2012. "Bunter" was a talented centre who played 68 matches for Australia, including nine Tests as Captain, before embarking on a career as a well-respected coach.
ARU General Manager of Community Rugby & Participation Growth Andrew Larratt said: “This award is a fantastic opportunity for the ARU to recognise the great commitment of our coaches within local communities. They are the unsung heroes of our game, and are the people who are shaping the future of rugby in Australia."
“This year, we’ve seen may coaches continue to innovate by welcoming more girls and women into clubs and school rugby communities by introducing new formats of the game such as Sevens and VIVA7s.
“We are lucky to have so many fantastic coaches in our game. Our coaches instil rugby’s values of passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork, and are the lifeblood of our sport.”
In 2015, Ted Vinson from Charters Towers Bulls Rugby Union was named the Community Coach of the Year for playing a major role in opening up pathways for the region’s junior players by creating a junior competition. Ted was visited in Charters Towers by Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika, who used the opportunity to share his coaching expertise with the locals. Click here to see the video of his visit.
Entries for the Geoff “Bunter” Shaw Community Coach of the Year Award close on 14 October.