Chip off the Old Block
When one thinks of the TFA-NRL Alliance, they generally think marketing campaigns, membership numbers, and the abundance of 'male' players that play between both football codes .. but here at Sharks the Rugby League connection is a more subtle one, and perhaps surprisingly involves our female players!
Emmerson, daughter of Cowboys Coach, Paul Green, plays in our Girls 9 Blue team; Tegan, daughter of Cowboys Assistant Coach, David Fairleigh, plays in our Girls 16 Black side; Aleysha, daughter of former Auckland Warriors player, Andy Platt, plays in our Girls 15 Blue team; and our Girls 15/16 coach, Glen Murphy, (whose daughters, Lucia & Amaya, also play in the Girls 15 Blue team) was both a player & coach at the Cowboys. In recent years we've also had Britt Tamou (wife of James) and Sabrina Thompson (wife of Ray) don the blue & black of Sharks in our womens division 1 team.
Even though many, if not all, of these names would be familiar with League enthusiasts - here's a quick snapshot of the bloodlines these young players come from:
ANDY PLATT: started his professional career at St Helens (1982-87) as a ball-playing second rower. Here he rose to national prominence, making his debut against France in 1985, and representing Great Britain on the 1988 Lions tour down under.
Andy was selected again to go on the 1992 Lions to Tour and was named man-of-the-match in the tourists' victory over Australia in the second Ashes test. In the following season, Andy again played prop for Wigan in the 1992 World Club Challenge against the Broncos; and in 1993 he was named the 'Man of Steel.
Whilst playing for the Auckland Warriors (1993-94) - Andy was selected to represent England at the 1995 World Cup. He finished his playing career with Salford in 1998 before taking on the coaching position with Workington in 1999; and even coached Sharks Girls U12 (Grey) a couple of years ago.
PAUL GREEN: best known for his coaching achievements with the Cowboys, Paul was a bit of a journeyman, & played 162 games at NRL level for Cronulla, Cowboys, Roosters, Parramatta, and the Broncos; as well as 10 games for Queensland and 2 for Australia.
Paul backed up his solid debut season with the Sharks by winning the ARL's prestigious Rothmans Medal award in 1995 as the best and fairest player; and was the Cowboys first State of Origin rep when selected for Qld in 999.
Moving to the Roosters, Paul earned another Origin recall, playing in all three games in Queensland's series win in 2001; before stints at Parammatta and the Broncos. Unfortunately much of his later years of playing were hampered by injuries.
DAVID FAIRLEIGH: made his début for the North Sydney Bears in 1989 and for the next decade was consistently one of the most dominant forwards in the NRL. He made his NSW State of Origin début in 1991.
David played State of Origin from 1991 to 1997, and won the Rothman's Medal in 1994 for the best and fairest player in the NRL. He made his Test début for Australian in a one-off test against France that same year. He was also selected in the Australian team to play against Fiji and Papua New Guinea in 1996. In 1996 he was named in the World Team and was named Dally M Second Row of the Year. He was second in the Rothmans Medal in 1996 behind teammate Jason Taylor.
Following North's merger with Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at the end of 1999, David moved to Newcastle and was in 2000 named the club's Player of the Year, Players' Player and Coach's Player of the Year. 2001 saw him finish his club career with a season for St. Helens in England where he was named in the Super League Dream Team as well being chosen as one of St Helens 100 greatest players.
GLEN MURPHY: was a member of the inaugural Cowboys squad in 1995 and went on to play 52 games for the Cowboys in his five years there. Retiring in 1999, Glen then worked at the Cowboys for 14 years, seven as the head of strength and conditioning.
Since hanging up the League boots, Glen has established hmself as a rising star in the north's Touch coaching ranks - and alongside experience mentor Eddie Pardon - has certainly stamped his class on players under his tutelage; including the TCHTA Premierhsip winnng Rum Runners W1 side, as well as the large cohort of young girls in the Sharks W2 ranks. Highly sought after for his professional knowledge in S&C, Glen is quickly learning the intricacies of Touch and has been a massive value add to the Sharks coaching ranks in recent years.
If Lucia, Amaya, Aleshya, Emmerson and Tegan can achieve a fraction of the playing success their father's enjoyed during their tenure at the top, then the girls will certainly be in esteemed company!