A Tale of Family Bonds and Sporting Success: The Coaches Who Lead Their Loved Ones

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In the world of footy, for many years the father-son rule, and now mother-daughters has been the stuff of romance and one of the great things the game has held onto for over 150 years. 

The bonds of family can play a crucial role in shaping team dynamics and achieving success. 

This sentiment rings true for Shane Chapman, the coach of Monash Blues in Premier B Women’s, and Ryan Dobson, who leads Old Carey in Division 4 Women’s. 

In this week’s episode of Inside the Boundary, both coaches share their unique experiences of coaching their loved ones and the impact it has had on their respective teams.

For Chapman, coaching his wife Sarah Rose was a natural extension of their shared love for football. “Not sure if you’re aware of this but Sarah, she’s my wife,” Shane chuckled as he revealed the familial connection. 

Rose was in a state of flux over summer and had initially hung up the boots for the 2023 season, Chapman though was adamant about keeping her involved in the sport. “I definitely wanted her to stay involved in footy,” he emphasized. “She loves it and loves being around the team.”

Shane’s unwavering support and guidance have not only fostered Sarah’s growth as a player but also created a positive team environment where the lines between family and football blur seamlessly.

In a similar vein, Ryan Dobson found himself in the unique position of coaching his sister Elise as Old Carey made their long-awaited return to VAFA Women’s competition this year. 

With the Panthers returning to the VAFA for the first time since 2019, it was on Dobson to search far and wide over summer in a recruiting frenzy ahead of Round 1 against Power House.

Ryan acknowledged the dynamic that exists between siblings but was pleasantly surprised by Elise’s openness to receiving guidance on the field. “When it comes to football, she was happy with any advice coming her way,” he shared.

Ryan’s willingness to navigate the complexities of coaching a family member has proven fruitful for Old Carey. Although Elise’s limited availability due to residing in Werribee has posed challenges, her presence on the field has brought a renewed sense of excitement to the team. 

Second on the ladder after initially stumbling in their opening match, Old Carey’s progress serves as a testament to the team’s resilience and the support that exists at the Panthers.

As the Monash Blues continue their unbeaten streak and Old Carey climbs the ranks, it is evident that the inclusion of family members in coaching roles has been a winning formula. 

The stories of Shane Chapman and Ryan Dobson highlight the positive influence that familial relationships can have in shaping successful teams. 

Last year Parkside fielded a team that included three sets of mothers and daughters, St Kevin’s co-captain Margie Gleeson, missed the season opener against Caulfield due to her wedding being the following day to the Fields footy manager. 

Their dedication to coaching their loved ones has not only strengthened family ties but also elevated the performance and spirit of their respective squads. 

All of these teams serve as a reminder that the bonds of kinship can provide an extra layer of motivation, support, and understanding on the field.

It is a testament to the power of family and the enduring connection that exists both on and off the field.