General Graham Lowe


Graham Lowe



Graham Lowe: Time seems right to get back into coaching

I've put my hat in the ring for the coaching jobs at the Raiders and the Knights.

I rang Wayne Bennett last week to see what he thought about my coaching again and he didn't have a problem with it. He told me a few things had changed, but he certainly didn't dissuade me from doing it.

I haven't coached at the top level since the Cowboys in 1996, but I feel the time is right to re-enter the fray.

I retired because of ill-health, and who knows, if that had not come along I might still be coaching.

I have had a couple of positions put to me in the past years, but I have knocked them back because I didn't really know whether I wanted to do it. Before knowing these two jobs were up for grabs I had decided to try again. It was pure coincidence they became available.

I am well aware I may not have much of a chance because of the length of time I've been out of the game, but I'm not going to die wondering.
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lowey has the credentials that most coaches dream of.
the guy has done everything plus.

i wish him well but somehow i dont think his health is up to it.
Teams would be either crazy or desperate to sign him up. Hes had his day
i agree, only a team going really bad would want him
Source: NZ Herald

Cross my heart - it may sound hard to believe, but many games of league, including test matches, have been won because players occupied the correct seat on the team bus on the way to the game.

Look carefully this weekend and you're likely to see that the order in which the players file out in many teams is always the same.

They believe they need to be behind the player they are always behind.

Martin Bella played in the front row for me at Manly and also Queensland and was a rough and tough professional player who also represented Australia.

He had to sit in the front left seat of the team bus on the way to matches. If someone took his seat he would carry on like a big sook because that was his spot. It was part of his preparation. He was superstitious, but boy, could he play.

Pre-match rituals and routines are not uncommon with many top players and, as strange as it sounds, these highly paid players can be put off their game by the slightest thing going wrong before they get to the ground.

During my time as a coach I witnessed the effects of superstition on even the most experienced players.

It must have been a hard week for Warriors coach Ivan Cleary trying to figure out just why his team seems to be running on only a couple of cylinders at the moment. There's just no obvious answer. So perhaps he should be considering what many coaches believe at some time in their up-and-down careers. Could it simply be a curse that's affecting his players?

Maybe someone has upset the God of Superstition?

We all know Ivan is a pretty grounded sort of bloke.

But the sporting science of wearing the lucky underpants is something that Cleary may just have forgotten to check on. Because it seems he is trying everything else to fire up his faltering team, to no avail.

I haven't spoken to many modern-day players about it, but I would be amazed if superstition was not still rife.

When I think back to some of the disgusting items of clothing a few of my star players insisted on wearing, it's a wonder we all didn't end up with cholera.

It even ended up having an effect on me. My bag needed to be packed in a certain way before setting off for a game, and look out if it wasn't.

Something's put the mocker on the Warriors and anyone who disregards superstition does so at their peril.

Mark Graham, one of New Zealand rugby league's immortals was highly superstitious. His pre-match routine included time by himself for a quiet prayer.

I must admit on more than one occasion when I was looking for a miracle I asked him to include a message from me as well to the Big Fella.

But of all the little quirks of the players the most common was the lucky undies. Ask any mum what happens when she decides to throw out what she sees as a disgusting pair of old underwear or a favourite t-shirt. Players need their version of a baby's comfort blanket, or they feel they are cursed.

I really felt sorry for Manu Vatuvei out on the wing against the Eels on Monday night.

He has the butterfingers curse and it's not something even the exorcist could cure.

I would have put him into the second row for a while and said just get stuck in and try and get involved as much as possible.

He was left exposed out on the wing and will now be haunted by that performance for the rest of the season.

In fact, thinking about it, Vatuvei could have a future as a wide-running backrower. He would be hard to stop and his explosive speed and power is one of the things lacking in the Warriors forwards.

But the Warriors didn't lose against the Eels just because Vatuvei had butterfingers. Their forwards are soft as butter.

I suspect the Bulldogs can't wait to get among the Warriors pack because they also have plenty to prove.

The Cowboys' Johnathan Thurston and the Broncos' Darren Lockyer are considered by many as the game's best players and it's hard to argue against that.

But given the choice of any player in the NRL, I wouldn't hesitate to go for Kiwis and Dogs second-rower Sonny Bill Williams. He has been off the radar lately, but look out for him on Sunday.

He alone could tear the Warriors apart.

The Warriors should forget the points they desperately need and start playing for a bit of pride. The problem they have at present is a mental one and should be easy enough to overcome.

Start each game with a smile instead of looking like they are on their way to bury the family pet.

It's a simple thing, but it's the simple things that are missing in their game.

But what must be most worrying for Cleary at present is that there appears to be a total lack of enthusiasm.

I've suggested it before and I still stand by it, he needs to be brutal, because his own selections are killing him.

When a team are looking like they have nothing to play for, they usually don't. Players need to be dropped from the side, not shifted to the interchange bench. In fact the interchange option is bringing the team undone.
The 'ol superstitution thing, hehe it's a theory and a good one. Aside from that really good article.
100% agree Ivans selections are killing us Wiki should've been rested weeks ago but its not too late, there are hints of changes for this weeks game but if Rubes isn't rested & a backrower replaced we are liable to get smashed by the Dogs but like i said its not too late for Ivan to rest Ruben, which is one of the reasons we are getting smashed in the fowards every week. I shuder to think what we'd be like without Pricey & Luck.
Wrong undies, all those years of experience and thats what he comes up with, wrong undies.
:lol1: I think Lowe's a bit behind the times! Not that his knowledge is bad or anything it just seems a bit outdated what he said in that piece. Still, good for a gigle. I'm sure players have other little rituals and stuff and not just the undies thing...besides that's...erm...gross
I think Lowe brings up valid points. Mental preparation before a game is vital to a player's performance. I'm not usually one to plug myself, but here's an article I wrote a while back that is in a similar vein...

What Are The Odds?

Soaking wet and cold from the wind and rain that so frequently accompany an Auckland winter, I watch as the two teams leave the field for the halftime break. I applaud my team before returning to the seat that I have been fortunate enough to call my own for the last eight years. Halftime entertainment has never really appealed to me, but occasionally a few balls are kicked into the stands, and I've never been one to turn down the opportunity to get something for free.

On this particular occasion, one of the balls actually starts heading directly for me. I can hardly believe my luck - in all the years of supporting my team, I have never had such a realistic chance at winning a prize. Everything around me morphs into slow motion and the noise of my fellow fans grow dull as I rise up out of my seat, the ball approaching, gently gliding and spiralling towards my outstretched hands. And then, just as it arcs back down towards my waiting arms, it is plucked out of the air by my vertically inferior wife who has been sitting in the seat to the very left of my own.

I am, of course, happy for her, although I can't hide the fact that I was so close and yet so far. And to make matters worse, this feat is repeated at the very next game! This time, however, it isn't my wife who catches the ball, but my father - the same man who only two years earlier suffered a double heart attack!

Instinctively, my gaze lifts to the skies, as if to question the very heavens about such bad luck. They smile back in a hollow manner, the clouds themselves almost shifting to form the words “tough luck, kid”.

But of course, the rugby league gods don't even exist...right?

Whether or not they do, superstition plays a major part in the thirteen man sport. Sometimes it takes the form of a lucky item, and often as a specific method of preparation. Sporting ‘gods’, ‘hoodoos’, and ‘bogey teams’ are quickly introduced as part of the ever present psychological battle that wages both on and off the field within the mind of every player in every team.

For example, Warriors rookie Grant Rovelli is always careful to ensure he has his favourite towel, adorned with the image of a tiger, with him in the changing rooms before every match. Comparatively, Penrith halfback Craig Gower has a five minute nap before directing his impressive forward pack and striking fear into the opposition.

Lesley Vainikolo takes a very different approach: "I have quite a strict pre-match ritual which I do before every game," says the Bradford Bulls winger. "I read three passages from the Bible. I then place it on my jersey before saying a prayer. I then kiss the Bible and put on my jersey. I've been doing that for the past three years."

Whether the towel, brief rest, or pieces of scripture actually affect a player's ability is debatable. But one thing is clear - they all make the buildup that much more important to the individual involved.

According to New York-based sports psychologist Richard Lustberg, such unorthodox methods of preparation are a coping mechanism designed by athletes in their eagerness to succeed.

“Athletes begin to believe, and want to believe, that their particular routine is enhancing their performance,” says Lustberg. “In reality, it’s probably just practice and confidence that’s making them perform better.”

Lesley Vainikolo shares the same view: “My faith is very important to me and it gives me confidence when I'm out on the pitch.”

And so, it would seem, rugby league coaches would do well to embrace such practices, such as when former Warriors coach Daniel Anderson who, while not a religious man himself, went to church with several of his Polynesian players in an open endorsement of their beliefs. So Craig Gower’s naps should be encouraged, along with fellow Panther Rhys Wesser’s habit of yelling before a match, because anything that builds a player’s confidence – and therefore increases the quality of football on the field – makes for a more exciting contest and a greater advertisement for the game.

My head lowers to a normal level, and I watch as the two teams return to the field. The rugby league ‘gods’ may not exist, but their influence is very real indeed.

If only they could help me catch a ball!

Iconic Kiwi rugby league coach Graham Lowe knighted for work in education
David Long 11:32, Jun 03 2019
Sir Graham Lowe took his coaching philosophies from the footy field to the classroom.


Sir Graham Lowe might be one of the most famous sporting coaches in the country, but the knighthood bestowed on him in the Queen's Birthday honours wasn't for anything he's helped achieve on a footy field.

The 72-year-old was knighted for his services to youth and education, with his Lowie Foundation delivering a literacy and numeracy programme to 12-19 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"I got a call from the Prime Minister's office to tell me about it, to see if I'd accept. I must have said yes 100 times!" Lowe said.

"I feel immense pride about it and the pride in itself is overwhelming really. I can't put it into words."

In 2013 Lowe was appointed an Officer in the New Zealand Order of Merit for services for the community, following his rugby league coaching career. In 1986 he was given the Queen's Service Medal.

But what makes this latest accolade all the more special for Lowe was that it came from the work he's done in education, rather than sport.

Sir Graham Lowe took his coaching philosophies from the footy field to the classroom.

"Rugby league and sport are really important and play a big part in our lives, but I'm a believer in supporting, helping and educating disadvantaged young people," he said.

"I always thought this could be done, simply by applying this around the 12 principles I have.

"I don't deliver the courses, I've just designed it, but I've got the polytechs to weave the literacy and numeracy studies around those 12 principles, which are based on the language of sport and that gives them a different way to learn something.

Manukau Institute of Technology general manager Nuddy Pillay, Department of Corrections chief executive Rachel Leota and rugby league coach Graham Lowe, at the launch of 'Kick for the Seagulls'.

Manukau Institute of Technology general manager Nuddy Pillay, Department of Corrections chief executive Rachel Leota and rugby league coach Graham Lowe, at the launch of 'Kick for the Seagulls'.

"I'm sure the people who've been through the course have been able to use those simple coaching type principles to help with literacy and numeracy."

Those 12 principles are what Lowe based his successful sporting career on, a career which took him to head coaching jobs with the Kiwis, Queensland, Manly Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys.

Through his coaching skills, he developed a programme called Kick for the Seagulls to inspire students who've previously struggled.

The current programme has been going since 2013 and polytechs where it's been delivered say the results have been outstanding.

Sir Graham Lowe with students from Kia Aroha College in South Auckland.

Sir Graham Lowe with students from Kia Aroha College in South Auckland.

Lowe said the motivation came from his experiences inside rugby league.

"I saw many times young people who were oozing rugby league talent, but they lacked a successful pathway because they didn't appreciate how important literacy and numeracy were in life," he said.

"So many of them missed out and when I combine that with many of the players I've coached, I owe so much to them.

"A lot of them came from these really disadvantaged backgrounds and I wanted to see if I could put something back in that area. That's what I've been really focused on for many years."

While Lowe has accepted the knighthood, he wanted to pay tribute to the numerous people who backed him with this programme and gave him the support and guidance to make it a reality.

Sir Graham Lowe coached the Kiwi All Stars against an Invitational team at Mt Smart Stadium in 2006.

Sir Graham Lowe coached the Kiwi All Stars against an Invitational team at Mt Smart Stadium in 2006.

"I really appreciate the people who have believed in me and supported me," he said.

"People used to say to me, when you're a coach you're teaching your players how to play.

"But I saw it differently, my players taught me how to coach.

"I find the same thing now. The players teach you about yourself and it's the same with the courses that are run. I'm finding out more about myself.

"With every class or course that goes on, I find a bit more out about myself. So I'm learning from them."

When coaching Manly, Sir Graham Lowe kept the club's Kiwi connections strong, with Tony Iro, Matthew Ridge and Darrell Williams.

When coaching Manly, Sir Graham Lowe kept the club's Kiwi connections strong, with Tony Iro, Matthew Ridge and Darrell Williams.

Good on him. Despite what some say about him he’s done a lot for RL and in this instance, the community. Well deserved.
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When coaching Manly, Sir Graham Lowe kept the club's Kiwi connections strong, with Tony Iro, Matthew Ridge and Darrell Williams.
Heyzeuss spare me there is some talent in that pic. Williams was the only one who was there before he arrived. That is one reason Manly signed him, and I almost forgot the Park in the Bar :eek: .
When you can organise an informal team walk up Queen Street after LOSING a test and get a virtual ticker tape reception it says something.:D
Park in the Bar!

Good on Lowie. So we’ll see Sir Peter and Sir Graham at MSS soon? I’d rather see those two at half time as sick of the radio station relays and races.
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Have had the pleasure of listening to him speak on several occasions and he is quite enthralling to listen to. Its very clear he is a leader and he has a way of making one feel uplifted. Best night was at the Otahuhu Rugby League Centenary evening where he relived those early days at Otahuhu and how he started his coaching career. Spoke for about half an hour on Wigan, Kiwis, Manly and Queensland. Could have listened to his war stories for hours.

The Knighthood was for his work through the Lowe Foundation and they do some awesome stuff with kids across the country who may have fallen through the cracks. If he speaks to these kids as he does at league functions he'll be a natural for the gig. It was always said that Lowe was more a motivational coach than a technical one.

Congrats to Lowe on the honours...
One of his best yarns, and he has a few, was about the need for hard work he made at the Sportsman of the Year awards way back when. Murray Halberg was on stage with him.

He said how when he was a kid growing up in O'Donnell Avenue in the Owairaka state housing area during the 1950s he used to see Murray Halberg and his mates running along the road in the morning, than again that night. He said to his dad "Where have they been?" That brought the house down and even Murray Halberg cracked up (usually a very stern guy was Murray).

Actually he was telling the absolute truth. Any kid in that area (Bruce was such a kid :) )was used to seeing Halberg, Peter Snell, Bill Baillie and their mates running along the streets at all hours with Arthur Lydiard in tow.

Only Lowie could have told it like it was a made up story though, and get everybody cracking up. He is a very good speaker.

I am wrapped for the guy, because he has done so much for the game we love. I wish I could say the same for some other bastards though.

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