Home World NRLW 2022: Indigenous coaches Dean Withers and Ronald make history

NRLW 2022: Indigenous coaches Dean Withers and Ronald make history


The story began seven years ago when two indigenous players led their sides on the final night.

There will be another major milestone on Sunday when both coaches in the NRLW decider will announce significant cultural changes.

Johnathan Thurston and Justin Hodges paved the way back in 2015 and now Dean Withers and Ronald Griffiths will make NRLW history when they coach Parramatta and Newcastle in the biggest game of the season.

Camera iconJustin Hodges and Johnathan Thurston after the 2015 NRL Grand Final. Adam Head credit: News Corp Australia

“It’s great because it’s an area of ​​the game where we’re struggling to get indigenous coaching representation,” Withers told NCA NewsWire.

“For me to be a part of this with Ronald Griffiths is extra special because Ronnie, like me, is into community service and he, like me, has coached at Koori Knockout.

“He is a coach I respect a lot, so I am proud to share this experience with him. I’m happy that this weekend one of us will make his dream come true.”

Indigenous representation in NRL teams is an area that needs to be addressed in the game, but it is something that has developed in a short space of time in the women’s competition.

There is no shortage this season, with the Eels appointing Darren Borthwick as assistant, while Jess Skinner is also one of the most important members of Griffiths’ coaching staff.

NRLW Grand Final Teams
Camera iconJamie Soward led the Dragons to last season’s NRLW grand final. Picture; Richard Walker credit: News Corp Australia

“I think it’s fantastic,” said the Newcastle manager.

“I wasn’t good enough to play in the NRL. I’ve worked hard at what I’ve done, but it shows other people that if you’re willing to stick with something and work really hard, it’s possible to get to the highest level.”

Withers said the development will continue next year, with Ben Jeffries set to join the Cowboys after coaching the All Stars Indigenous Women’s side, while Jamie Soward is a revelation at the Dragons.

It didn’t happen overnight, and Withers says one of the game’s most important leaders has made a change.

“I think a lot of credit goes to Jillaroos head coach Brad Donald because he really pushed for it,” he said.

“He wants indigenous women to train as well.

“If it wasn’t for Brad’s support and influence, I can tell you we wouldn’t have seen what happened on Sunday afternoon.

“He opened doors for us and gave us advice when we needed it. It’s so important because I’ve never had indigenous teachers in this space.

“He made a target program without actually having a target program. He put a lot of effort into us and it paid off.

“I have always worked hard to fight for our people at this level.

“I’m so proud that people are starting to come.”

Brad Donald (left) was a leading defender of indigenous coaches.
Camera iconBrad Donald (left) was a leading defender of indigenous coaches. credit: Delivered

Both Withers and Griffiths want to be coaches in the NRL, but they have more pressing matters as the two teams that missed out on the finals last season are chasing premierships.

Sunday’s match will showcase the players and skills of two of the best coaches in the game, and it’s the perfect time to shine the spotlight on them given what else is happening this weekend.

“For our people, we’re celebrating the biggest weekend of the year this weekend,” Griffiths said.

“We have a knockout in the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League. It’s the 50th anniversary, so it’s really important for us to be here on center stage this weekend.

“This is an extremely humbling and proud moment for our people and our families.”





Previous articleLDV eT60: Details on Australia’s first electric vehicle
Next articleArk Mines (ASX:AHK) to focus on surveying for FY22 – The Market Herald