More Than Just A Game For Mather
By Rebecca Brebner
Juggling a fiancé, four kids, a full-time job, managing Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby League representative teams, being a part of the players’ organisation, administration and being an epic sideline supporter…you name it, Mel Mather does it.
Canterbury sports fanatic Mel Mather first got involved in rugby league just over five years ago. Beginning as an outlet for her spare time, she approached Sport Canterbury offering herself to any committee who required a female. Mather’s love for league was obvious, so she was given the green light to jump onboard.
With an eager attitude and a willingness to volunteer, Mather was quick to take up her first management role with the South Island Scorpions 15s team. From there, Mather says, things began to grow rapidly.
Alongside coach Andrew Aiumatagi and assistant coach Jed Lawrie, the trio were given the reins of the senior South Island Scorpions premier team. The ‘dream team’ then progressed onto the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls.
“Andrew, Jed and I all really hit it off together,” Mather reveals.
“When Andrew said he was going to apply as coach of the Bulls he suggested that we apply as a team and it’s been like that ever since.”
As manager of the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls, the Mather’s role is to make sure everything runs smoothly, from organisation, fundraising, uniforms to game day preparation.
“I liaise with the boys, make sure they know when and where trainings are, I make sure the coaches are comfortable with what’s going on within the team and keep on top of the administration work when I can,” the 33-year-old explains.
“Standing on the sideline with an awesome team of both staff and players is what makes it all worthwhile.”
On top of the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls’ campaign, Mather also assists with New Zealand Rugby League events and teams. Last weekend Mather managed the New Zealand 16s Residents team in Rotorua as they took the win against the New Zealand Maori 17s (Mather is pictured right with, from left, Auimatagi, West Coast’s Griffin Neame, Canterbury’s Caius Faatili and Otago’s Leroy Ferguson).
“It’s always a great bunch of staff and people involved in the New Zealand campaign”.
The hard-working volunteer says she has a very understanding whanau, who are passionate about league and fully support her endeavours.
“It’s really hard to say how much time I put into it all, I almost don’t want to know,” Mather laughs.
She adds that every bit of hard work pays off when you get to work with such talented players and see their development over time.
“Last year from the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls team, five or six players were picked up for NRL clubs. To have been alongside these boys is certainly both a highlight and a privilege”.
Canterbury Rugby League is always is need of more volunteers, more referees, more coaches and more match managers.
“It’s hard because sport in New Zealand relies so heavily on volunteers,” Mather says.
“You’ve got to be conscious and careful of overloading them. But we do certainly need more volunteers, that’s for sure.”
So if you’ve ever wanted get involved beyond the sideline and contribute to your game as valuable volunteers like Mel Mather do, be sure to get in touch with Canterbury Rugby League.