Kiwi sets pace

Herald on Sunday - - EDITORIAL -

Rae­lene Cas­tle is the new chief ex­ec­u­tive of Rugby Aus­tralia, which sounds al­most as treach­er­ous as coach­ing the Wal­la­bies.

But New Zealan­ders will wish her well and find im­mense pride in the per­son­al­ity we pro­file to­day.

She is a woman mov­ing con­fi­dently and nat­u­rally in the most mas­cu­line of worlds. Hav­ing suc­cess­fully run the Bull­dogs rugby league club in Syd­ney, she is step­ping across to the na­tional ad­min­is­tra­tion of rugby union.

She makes no bones about the fact that when Aus­tralia face the All Blacks, “there’s ab­so­lutely no doubt at all I’ll be cheer­ing for the Wal­la­bies”.

She is a pro­fes­sional as well as a warm, down-to-earth Kiwi.

As a woman in charge of young men at the Bull­dogs, she does not talk about role mod­els when they mis­be­have in pub­lic, she talks about con­tracts.

“When you get paid a large amount of money you rep­re­sent an or­gan­i­sa­tion and that means you have to make cer­tain choices and be­have in cer­tain ways.”

When it comes to re­spect for women, sex­u­al­ity and race, she says: “I’ve had a num­ber of very, very dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions. I think the dif­fer­ence is, at the end of those con­ver­sa­tions you can stand up and give the player a hug in a moth­erly way.”

Man­age­ment of pro­fes­sional sport is a so­phis­ti­cated busi­ness these days. Cas­tle cut her teeth in busi­ness work­ing for NZ Tele­com, the BNZ and Fuji Xerox. But sport was in her genes.

Her fa­ther played league for Auck­land and later coached a club side, her mother rep­re­sented New Zealand at bowls, win­ning Com­mon­wealth Games medals and a world cham­pi­onship.

In her youth Cas­tle played net­ball, tennis, lawn bowls, bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball and touch. She went into sports ad­min­is­tra­tion first with Net­ball New Zealand, in the years when the ANZ Cham­pi­onship was launched.

But her ap­point­ment to the Bull­dogs in 2013 was the break­through, the first fe­male boss of an NRL club.

Women, she says, stopped her in Syd­ney streets to say: “We are so proud of you.”

So say all of us. She strad­dles not only the gen­der di­vide, but the Tas­man and rugby codes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.