With Rugby League coursing through his veins, Sydney Roosters Tarsha Gale Head Coach Blake Cavallaro is looking to develop his coaching career in tandem with the growth of the Women's game.
Since the age of five, Cavallaro has had a passion for the game, and now he finds himself at the helm of his first representative appointment.
With a rich pedigree in the 13-man game that saw him feature in the National Youth Competition - it's fair to say that he was destined to land somewhere in the Rugby League sphere.
After coaching the Club's SG Ball side, Cavallaro has now made his transition to the Women's game and has now been appointed as the Head Coach for the NSW Women's Under 19's team.
“I’ve played since I was a little kid, my uncle played first-grade, and my grandfather was a highly-skilled coach that coached at junior reps level," he explained.
“I myself went through that system, and afterwards I got a job at the NRL in Rugby League participation going to schools, junior league clubs and promoting junior league as a coach.
“One of my biggest passions is coaching juniors coming through, so when I got the opportunity to become a head coach for the SG Ball team last year I jumped at the chance.
“I’ve always had a passion for Rugby League and a passion for coaching, and I’ve been in the elite pathways system at the Sydney Roosters for three years."
Now ready to make the next step in his coaching career, Cavallaro is as enthusiastic about the development of the Women's game as much as he is about his own coaching career.
“One of my goals was to be involved in a representative role outside of the Roosters’ programs," he explained.
"I want to broaden my horizons with coaching and so when I got the phone call to say that I would be in the mix of things, I straight away put my hand up and informed them of my interest.
“I was pretty excited when I heard the news. I got the call from Kyle Hilder, who’s the Women’s Pathways Manager at the NSWRL.
“Getting that opportunity to coach at the elite level and now to coach at representative level is awesome. I take a lot of pride out of that and to work with a group of players who want to improve their skills, and I get a lot out of that.
“For me, giving back to young women is definitely a big thing that I’m looking forward to accomplishing."
Although his support network has comprised of a number of influential figures, Cavallaro says there is a stand out when it comes to his newfound passion for the Women's game.
“One of my biggest influences is Craig Walker, the Roosters General Manager of Football Programs," he said.
“He was one of the driving factors behind our NRLW side, even when we weren't sure where it would lead to. I think for us we’ve put a lot of emphasis on developing young women, developing good people on and off the field and we’ve got a great mix of the two.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth and development in the Club’s junior systems since I’ve started. The Tarsha Gale (u19s) has grown so much and I want the chance to be a part of that and see the next generation of players.
“He’s been a big influence and he’s encouraged me to jump in and coach these teams. I’ve got a lot of gratitude for him having that faith in me."
For me, giving back to young women is definitely a big thing that I’m looking forward to accomplishing.Blake Cavallaro Roosters Tarsha Gale Head Coach
The NSW Under 19's Women's Origin Coach for 2021 envisions a bright future for the Women's game, and is projecting big changes within the growth of the format, particularly with players being so attentive and eager to improve themselves.
“I’m so excited to go every training session because the players are like sponges – they’re willing to learn and listen and are always asking questions on the run," he explained.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the style of play that develops. The Women’s game has evolved so much compared to the style of play when the NRLW first started.
“There’s a lot of emphasis on ‘eyes up football’, they’re evolving and adapting to the style of game and you can see that in the last few years that people are loving the Women’s game because it’s growing each year.
“I can’t wait to see what the Women’s game looks like over the next decade.