Doyalson Dragons coach Karley Banks has been named the NSW Touch Association’s coach of the year last weekend at the Blues Awards. Her individual plaudits comes after her team also earned the title of Team of the Year for the second time in a row.
Banks’ season-end award marks the first time she has won the top gong for coaching with the state association. She has been nominated twice before.
“I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by all the goodwill and congratulations that has come the way of the Dragons and myself since Saturday’s awards,” Banks said.
“Honestly, this award doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the many people that have helped me along the way, like my playing groups. These guys are the lead singers and guitarists rocking out up front putting on the show, and I’m the drummer.
“I’m happy to keep the beat for you boys, thanks for letting me share in your performances. It’s been an amazing ride where all our hard work, homework, and heroics have combined to get the Ws. I couldn’t be prouder of you all.”
The Dragons earned their back-to-back crowns off the back of their historic triple at the Country Championships, the Vawdon Cup, and the State Cup.
Banks’ Doyalson became world-famous for breaking the mould in touch football. Banks injected her own brand of footy into the squad, mainly with aims to “keep the boys coming back” and making sure the club would remain playing.
Her program did a little more than that. It turned the Dragons into a powerhouse team that clubs all over the world now look to as the groundbreaking roster. The squad dictates changes in touch football, and Banks is right in the centre.
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“We wanted to build a program for the players where everyone is equal and respected and everyone rips in and puts the team first,” Banks explained.
“The way that we wanted to play football meant breaking a lot of convention and tradition in our gameplay and our constant innovations, attacking plays, unique defensive strategies, and sub-box patterns have required bravery from everyone.
“I can’t claim much, everyone had to buy in to this creative process and the entire playing group deserves every bit of praise for contributing their thoughts honestly, playing their individual roles, and excecuting as required.”
There were many that doubted the state coach of the year’s approach to the game, but Banks had a simple message for them: “Talk is cheap.” She’s proved herself on the touchline, and NSWTA have honoured her accordingly.
“It’s not easy to go against what everyone else believes is the right way to do something, and understandably the boys and I attracted our fair share of critics along the way as a result, but each to their own I reckon,” she said.
“Again, a massive thank you to everyone who has called, messaged, and written comments on social media platforms or personally congratulated the boys and I – it means heaps. we’ll do our best to thank you all. My heart is full.”