Rise issue 07 cover

Teamwork and unity

girl and rugby ball

Interview with Auckland hero Fale Chang-Ting, Work and Income case manager and two-time Rugby League World Cup champion.

Whether she is working with her colleagues to help clients find jobs or making a move on the fifth tackle, Avondale Work and Income case manager and two-time Rugby League World Cup champion, Fale Chang-Ting values teamwork and unity above everything else.

Do you see much crossover between the way you approach a game of rugby league and the way you approach your work as a case manager for Work and Income?

Definitely, a clear goal is important. In rugby league a team does well when everyone knows what the goal is and focuses on achieving it. It's the same at Work and Income; we have team standards which we all aim to meet. If one person is not doing their job it affects everyone else. I guess with league and work you can only meet your goals if everyone is pulling their weight.

What was it like winning two Rugby League World Cup Grand Finals back to back?

It was awesome, especially because we were playing the Australians at Suncorp Stadium. The buzz you get from that place is incredible.

The men's World Cup side put a lot of emphasis on team history, and called in a number of past players to talk and provide inspiration before each game. Did the women's team do anything similar?

I guess so, but we didn't have outside speakers. For us it [inspiration] comes from the team, from our captain, coaches and management speaking to us before a game, and then from each other while we are on the field.

How does the team prepare for a big match such as the World Cup Grand Final?
Relaxation is important. In the changing rooms it's all about business, so one of the things we do before a big match is take time out. Before the Grand Final we stopped off at some gardens, and as a team had a good walk around and a good team chat.

We also spend time together away from the game. During the World Cup we took the time to have lunch and dinner together as a team. We also did other team-bonding activities like an amazing race around the streets where we were staying in Sydney. I think that these sorts of things helped the team a lot, you get to really know someone's personality rather than just the position they play, and this helps you relate better to them on the field.

Was there much support at the stadium?

Women's rugby league doesn't really get much attention in the media. There were a few supporters there on the day, but the atmosphere was still pretty awesome.

Without that crowd support to feed off was there anything else the team used for motivation?

Well, we didn't have changing rooms. We were actually put into these toilets somewhere in the back of the stadium, which the team thought was pretty slack. Some of the girls were definitely using that as motivation while we got ready. But in that sort of situation the team really just has to pull together, forget about our surroundings or how we were let down, and focus on the job ahead.