IN A SPORT known for the passion of its fans, Helen Cooper stands tall.
The rugby league diehard is the youngest of five NRL-mad siblings and has attended every grand final since she was five.
Her fervor for footy has even seeped into her professional life, sharing her love of the game with students at South Wagga Public School, where she’s assistant principal.
Mrs Cooper has proved a “gender bender” in a game dominated by male players and coaches, leading the school to a host of prestigious titles.
Her efforts extend to training, mentoring and even canteen work.
They’ve also earned her a place as a finalist in the NRL Community and Player Education Awards.
The Wagga mum-of-three said she was “humbled and honoured” to be selected as a finalist.
“I just love the sport and I love seeing children succeed and improve their skills,” Mrs Cooper said.
She said being a female often meant she had to fight harder for credibility.
“When they see me, some of the male coaches just think their team will towel our’s up,” she said. “That’s until they start to see my team play with structure, commitment and passion.”
The awards will be announced on October 2.
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