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Ben and Kiowa Goodman with Australian Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims.

Kiowa Goodman simply describes herself as the coach and manager of Mount Gambier's women's league, but to many she's much more than that.

South Australia isn't renowned for being rugby league heartland but alongside husband Ben they are helping change that one season at a time.

Mr Goodman helped push for the creation of Mount Gambier Rugby League which has grown exponentially over the past three years. 

With 100 men and 60 women now registered, they will now look to introduce local juniors to rugby league and already have 30 youngsters interested. 

For Mrs Goodman – who was awarded the Women in League Achievement prize at the NRL Community Awards recently – she is helping young women try to achieve their dreams of playing for the Jillaroos.

"Of the women we have registered in Mt Gambier, we made up half of South Australia's representative sides. We were pretty proud of the fact that we have some tough, talented women in our area," Mrs Goodman told

"We have a couple of girls who are desperate to achieve their Jillaroos dream. That's where they want to be. They'll do anything to play.

"(Jillaroos skipper) Ruan (Sims) came down and did a coaching clinic in Adelaide recently that some of our girls went up to and that just cemented what they wanted to do.

"It made them realise that it is possible if they work hard to do it."

Mrs Goodman is also doing her bit on the field after featuring for South Australia in the Affiliated States Championship in June alongside her daughter TJ. 

Carrying a torn calf, Mrs Goodman helped SA to their first ever win in the women's competition – a 34-10 victory over the Northern Territory. 

"Personally it was even bigger for us because our daughter (TJ) managed to make the NRL Affiliated States side as well," Mr Goodman told

"It just makes it all worthwhile to see them progress. They were the first ever Combined States team to win a game at a championship so that alone makes you want to keep going."

Rugby league has even extended to Mrs Goodman's occupation as a school support officer in local Mount Gambier schools. 

Amazingly, Mrs Goodman had no clue what rugby league was three years ago – having lived in SA her entire life – but believes her pedigree as a state champion boxer helped her acclimatise to the game quickly. 

"I'm mainly working with kids who had been expelled from multiple schools and were having trouble integrating back into mainstream education," Mrs Goodman said. 

"I found that using rugby league was a way to relate with them on a personal level. It was something that made them trust me, and in time, trust the school program that we were working within. 

"We have had great success with that and it's so rewarding."




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