"We're trying to grow the grassroots game through developing the coaches."
That is what Mel Bennett says is the aim of a Brisbane Broncos NRL club-led development and upskilling session for about 30 rugby league coaches at Arataki Park tomorrow.
Bennett is the general manager of New Zealand Rugby League's Upper Central Zone, which leads, develops, fosters and promotes the code in conjunction with the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Coastline and Gisborne Tairawhiti districts. There are 8000 members in the zone.
One way of doing this is through their partnership with the Broncos, which began in 2015, with the aim of growing the fundamental grassroots skill levels and structure of the game.
This weekend, a Broncos team which will include the Broncos women's head coach Paul Dyer, Broncos elite player development manager Simon Scanlan and elite player development skills coach Mick Kennedy, will deliver a theory and on-field session with coaches.
Bennett says the development of coaches is a way to help grow the sport and is excited about what they will be able to gain from the professionals and in turn, give back to the players.
"Usually they come here and do skills and drills for kids ... but this is the first time that they're delivering to coaches," Bennett says.
Dyer will be in charge of the theory session and Kennedy will offer the on-field sessions, running drills.
Bennett says the idea to focus on coaching development came from a discussion with Scanlan, who was more than happy to support the plan.
"They usually only deliver to kids so I said 'What would you think about coming out to talk to our coaches?', because coaches are always keen to talk to any NRL teams or clubs, and it just developed from there," Bennett says.
"It's also a chance for likeminds to get together and do a little bit of collaboration and networking.
She says they hope for this to become an annual event so they can "grow the coaches so that they have the skills to give back to the kids".
Next year, she says the Broncos will be working with the zone to deliver a session to girls in order to grow the sport among women.