'Aunty Carmen' the Warriors' leading lady

To other team officials she's someone who stands out, to the players she's 'aunty', but really Carmen Taplin is just a normal NSW Cup manager.

The woman responsible for the off-field running of the New Zealand Warriors' reserve side, Taplin is somewhat of a trailblazer in regards to female involvement in elite rugby league.

The only female manager in the NSW Cup or Intrust Super Cup competitions, she assumed the role at the end of last year.

"I think the staff were probably a bit nervous when I got the role because I am a woman, and I think they probably thought they would need someone more authoritative or willing to state their ground," Taplin told NRL.com in the lead up to the Harvey Norman Women in League Round.

"That's totally not who I am, but the difference we have in our group is that our boys are so fantastic and respectful.

"That respect is something earned. I will do anything to help them and they know that.

"The boys call me aunty, so I kind of have that presence with them.

"I don't have to raise my voice or growl, because they know." 

A lifelong lover of the game, Taplin, 40, previously worked for the New Zealand Rugby League and toured with the Kiwis on eight occasions.

She spent last year with the Sydney Roosters, where along with husband Spencer they looked after 10 of the club's young players in a shared home.

"It was awesome, they were our family away from family," Taplin said.

"We had huge success and our boys ended up winning the SG Ball competition last year."

Some of the names at the dinner table each night included Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Jonathon Reuben and Latrell Mitchell, the player tipped by many to replace Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the Roosters' fullback in the long term.

"We ended up coming home because I got home sick," Taplin added.

"But it just gave me a huge insight into what these young boys go through moving away from home. Being a grown-up with children and a husband I still struggled with being away from home.

"We were so enriched by the experience but it made us realise New Zealand was where we wanted to be.

"We still keep in touch and are still involved with a lot with those boys."

Warriors utility Dominique Peyroux said Taplin had a different way of doing things to most other team managers, and that the players were enjoying having her around.

"She is very professional and keeps us on our toes," Peyroux said.

"We have a Viber group where is telling all the boys where to be and at what time.

"She's a great lady to have a chat to and all the boys are really enjoying her company at the moment."

And while the shocked reactions which go with being the only female in the team would be a negative for most, Taplin chooses to embrace it, even singling it out as the most enjoyable part of her job.

"That female influence is different to a man and I think that's what I enjoy most, being in an environment that's male dominated and holding my own; that's the most satisfying part," she said.

"We had a NSW Cup meeting at the start of the year and I was the only lady, it was funny because you could see them all looking like 'what is she doing here?'

"Even now when I go to the footy grounds I will walk out and talk to the ground manager and you will see the reaction.

"I like when people look at me like that.

"I am very blessed to do the work I do… it works for us and I am loving my role."