The best year I’ve had in rugby: Paul Wood giving back to his community club Shevington Sharks

Paul Wood Shevington Sharks Credit: Alamy
Paul Wood Shevington Sharks Credit: Alamy

Paul Wood is loving life coaching Shevington Sharks juniors, saying 2022 was the most enjoyable year he’s ever had in rugby league.

The former Warrington prop has been coaching his son’s Under-15s team at Wigan-based community club Shevington Sharks for almost two years now.

Wood, a former Great Britain international, says he never thought he’d get so much satisfaction from coaching the mini Sharks.

“I love it and I never thought that I would,” Wood told Love Rugby League. “Last year was the most enjoyable year I’ve had.

“I was reluctant at first to take it on because my son was involved in the team; and because I knew how much of a big commitment it was.

“But last year I said to the parents and the lads, I’ve been involved in rugby since I was 11 years of age and last year was the most enjoyable year I’ve ever had in rugby league – that’s including winning Challenge Cups, playing in Grand Finals and being on tour with Great Britain.

“It was so enjoyable because I felt good because I was giving something back to the kids. The players have responded well to it as well.

“I was unsure whether I’d carry on coaching but I had a couple of parents tell me that I couldn’t quit because their sons have got a lot from me this year and that they are really enjoying it. That was brilliant for me.”

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A mutual respect between Paul Wood and the players

Most of Wood’s players were only toddlers when he retired from playing in 2015, so they can’t remember his fearsome carries from the back fence.

But he’s built a good trust and understanding with them, even taking a little bit of stick in the process!

“They were very young when I retired so they’d never really seen me play,” he added.

“They went home watching YouTube videos of me and came back and abused me a little bit!

“I’ve built a good connection with the lads. I treat them like adults. I say to them they are not at school and are now in a rugby environment so we are going to enjoy the journey together.

“They probably weren’t used to my approach from a coaching point of view but I think the respect came more from the way I treat the lads.

“I was reluctant to become coach at first but I’m loving every minute of it now. They are a great set of lads and it’s a pleasure coaching them.”

Wood now works as health and well-being programme manager with Rugby League Cares.

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