Shane Atkins is the next in our series of interviews with the club coaches. Shane looks after our Amateurs team and joined us in 2019 when he took over our State League 2 team. During that season he was also assistant coach to Alistair McMurdo for our Gothia squad and took a team to Kalgoorlie to compete in the Goldfields challenge.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? How you got into coaching, other teams you may have coached and any other interests outside of coaching?
I'm a chef that runs a hotel in the city and have twin daughters that I love watching play football. I did play football as a junior up until about 18 for Rockingham rotating between 1sts and 2nds at the time as well as rep school teams, but my main interest was playing cricket which I did at the state level and played up until 5 years ago. I’ve also played various 20/20 comps in the last few years although it's getting a lot harder than it used to be! I coached cricket, both juniors and seniors for quite a few years, which gave me a love of coaching so I learnt as much about football as I could and sat my licence. This meant that I could help my girls with their football and since then I have coached football for the last 12 years, mainly at Tranby college with school teams, the Mandurah NPL boys teams and Port Kennedy.
This is now your second year with us, what brought you to the club and why Redbacks?
Yes, this is my second year at the Redbacks and I have had an amazing experience in those two years. I came to the club with my daughters at their request as well as a gentle nudge from Ally McMurdo. I was good friends with him at the NTC for 4 years, training at the same ground and while there was able to see what a great club and how well set up it was. My girls also had a lot of football friends at this club so it made the swap from NPL boys to girls very easy.
Last season you went to Gothenburg with our Gothia squad. What were the biggest lessons you learned from the trip and how do you think the squad benefited from it?
Last season was an amazing experience going to Sweden and I was so lucky to be a part of it. We learnt so much from the trip especially in regards to how big our great game really is. To have 80 plus countries all come together in one place was incredible. We learnt that preparation, teamwork, and belief in each other were the keys to anything you do in life, especially football. I think the biggest thing we learnt was that even though we made the quarterfinals, the results really didn’t matter. We brought back so many great experiences and memories that were not just about football and we learned that friendships were more important than anything.
COVID has had such a huge impact on everyone, so what were the biggest challenges that you faced?
COVID was definitely a tough time for me as I lost my job on the first day of shutdown because the hotel was closed immediately. I then faced the challenge of getting another job which I was lucky enough to do however I did go from being an exec chef to a forklift driver and chemical formulator so that was a bit of a life change. Losing football was also hard as we had come a long way last season with my team and were off to flying start in the preseason with our friendlies with both the Amateur and Gothia squads. Thinking that we might not to play at all this year and that the Gothia squad might also miss out on the opportunity to go was hard to take as I felt so upset for all the girls involved. Luckily we have had a season and although the Gothia girls didn’t get the opportunity to go they have had a few positives and highlights along the way. They've had some friendly matches, with Lisa DeVanna attending one and making a presentation to the squad afterwards. There is also a planned exhibition game for the Gothia squad in Kalgoorlie.
As a coach of some of our most talented U18’s, what do you see is your role at the club and what are your expectations for the side?
I think I have a very privileged job coaching these girls. I see my role as a very important one in developing them and trying to get them to hopefully advance each year. The expectations for myself is how many girls I can play some small part in helping get to play ressies and eventually prems. The progression of these girls in the last two years has been amazing and I couldn’t be prouder of them all. The expectations I have for them is to obviously become better players but more importantly to be better people who are respected by their peers and give everything to their teammates as well as represent their club proudly.