Raelene Castle takes on the role of chief executive for Rugby Australia

Raelene Castle is ready to shake things up in Australian rugby, as she prepares to commence her new role as chief executive.

523
Rugby Australia chief executive
Rugby Australia needs a new leader to revitalise the organisation. Photo: Auckland, 21/10/11: Rugby World Cup 2011. Patrimonio, Bigstock.

Raelene Castle has been appointed as the next chief executive of Rugby Australia. While Castle is proud to be the first female CEO of Australia, her focus lies with breaking stereotypes and earning respect as a quality leader, regardless of gender.

Raelene Castle’s background

Castle is an accomplished sporting executive, having proved herself across a five year stint as the chief executive of the Bulldogs. Previously, expectations within the sporting community have reserved the high-end roles within rugby for men.

However, as an esteemed sportswoman, Castle has shattered typecasts and secured the important position of CEO.

Castle’s entire life has revolved around sport, with her father being a former Kiwi international in rugby league. Castle has involved herself in a variety of sports, including six years of contribution to Netball in New Zealand.

However throughout this journey, Castle has always held a special interest for rugby union, as a dedicated spectator and fan of the All Blacks.

Castle’s appointment as CEO

Castle trumped the reported favourite, Phil Kearns, as the replacement for Bill Pulver. After a tumultuous year for Rugby Australia, the organization is eager to gain fresh input from a new leader, to correspond with its recent rebranding efforts in October.

Australian rugby is a complex domain, rife with politics and strong opinions. While Rugby Australia has worked hard to extent its restricted association, it still very much remains intensely linked to male private schools. The appointment of Castle may help to shake this long-winded stereotype, introducing more of a female influence over the sport.

Castle has faced predictable prejudice and resistance from many people within the sporting community. Critics have doubted the ability of a woman to lead the male-dominated sport, as well as her Kiwi background conjuring some reservations.

In addition, Castle’s appointment over the top choice, Kearns, will undoubtedly invoke some angry and skeptical attitudes.

The new boss has undergone careful consideration of her role, reviewing various perspectives from stakeholders to assess the concerns raised. But receiving the unanimous approval from the four Australian states meant Castle had the support and reassurance needed to take on the new job description.

Raelene Castle has got a steep uphill climb ahead of her to revive the struggling sport. She will have to face issues regarding junior players’ fee outrages, the demise of Super Rugby, and the diverted interests of many young talented players away from the game.

There is certainly enough to keep Castle busy, but questions remain whether the new boss will have the time and ability to revolutionize Rugby Australia.