'It's exciting': New coach Yapp motivated by historic Wallaroos potential

Mon, Feb 19, 2024, 2:08 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

New Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp is excited by the potential of the side as she becomes the first female to coach the national side.

Yapp was unveiled as coach on Monday after being appointed to the role in December.

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The former English international is the first full-time Wallaroos coach, with further funding announced for the program on Friday.

With more players than ever on improved, multi-year deals, it reflects the growth of a side brimming with confidence heading into 2024.

"I’m just massively excited about the role…I feel privileged to be working with such an amazing group of athletes and looking forward to that first camp when I can get them in together," Yapp said.

"All the things that have been put in place to really deliver the women’s sport over here is something that I thought was amazing to be involved in.

"It’s the next step for me in terms of going into international sport and that opportunity with a side that is so forward-thinking at the moment is massive. They’ve done so well for so long despite not having a huge amount of resources so now to see how they can keep on when they’ve got that support is really exciting.”

The Wallaroos' 2023 campaign was one of, if not, the most impressive seasons in their history.

Wins over France, the USA, Wales and Fijiana have the side ranked fifth in the world behind England, New Zealand, Canada and the French.

They have never been ranked higher than third, with Yapp eager to prove their third-place finish in WXV 1 was no fluke.

“The initial vision is to be a top four side and to close the gap on the likes of England and New Zealand and to be a top four team consistently," she outlined.

“Those top teams are ahead of us in terms of how long those players have been full time but these athletes have been working really hard and been really professional before in terms of their training standards

“It’s now just pushing our high-performance side of things and those elite behaviours to try and ensure we’re driving the standards not just when they’re in camp with us but in Super W as well. It’s a constant we need to push...There’s athletes who are desperate to do well, and move to program forward. They’ve asked for this support and resources and they’re ready to get started.

“I just want them to have that performance mindset and they want that support and to be challenged, really trying to push their own standards."

Yapp is the lone female head coach of an Australian senior national team in a major football code.

The 44-year-old understands the position she is in as a trailblazer, rising through the ranks at Worcester before heading down under.

“For me, the best coach is the best coach whether that’s male or female but I also understand that I have got a role in terms of being a role model and seeing that there is opportunities for other coaches," she adds.

“To come forward and coach at an international level and within Australia itself and seeing that as a role model.”

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