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The rewards keep coming for Warriors women’s coach Luisa Avaiki.

On Saturday night she coached the club’s first women’s team to a pulsating 10-4 win over the Sydney Roosters in the opening match of the inaugural NRL women’s premiership.

That was followed up today by the former Kiwi Ferns captain being named a finalist for NEXT magazine’s 2018 Woman of the Year awards.

Avaiki’s involvement in rugby league is on another level. She was in each of New Zealand’s three World Cup-winning sides in 2000, 2005 and 2008, captaining the side in the 2005 and 2008 triumphs.

She has coached at various levels – including men’s teams – since finishing her playing career and has a powerful presence at grass roots level.

Avaiki, working for the New Zealand Rugby League as its wellbeing and women’s development manager, has been instrumental in getting more women to play rugby league.

After the Warriors were confirmed as one of the four teams for the NRL women’s premiership in March, she was immediately revealed as coach – the first woman to hold a coaching position in the NRL.

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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