The Woman Behind The Defence

“The Caesars have a huge opportunity to win the division this year and I am enjoying being part of the coaching team, and bringing some new ideas to the defensive side of the ball.” Laura Moore, 2023

Having played both codes of rugby, Union with Nottingham/West Bridgford, and League with the Nottingham Outlaws, Defensive Coach and GB International, Laura Moore, found a home when she switched from Rugby, to American Football, and now, she’s lending that experience, to the Nottingham Caesars.

As preparation for the 2023 campaign gets underway, the Caesars begin their battle for promotion at home to the Sheffield Giants, on 30 April, we caught up with their Defensive Run Game Coach ahead of the new game, to chat about her journey, her time in the sport, and the role in which women do play, both then, and now.

Born in Mansfield, she, like most of us, played numerous sports at school and, as life progressed, soon began playing Rugby; work would take her south, to the nations’ capital, however, American Football soon took hold, a little over a decade ago, where she would become one of the early trailblazers for the women’s game.

“(British) American Football, it’s had a kind of stigma attached to it, be it geographical, financial, hence why it’s taken its time to progress,” explained Laura, as she spoke of the rise of the sport on British soil.

“We do need more coaching staff, and the women’s game, yes, it does need to be looked at more.

“I spent a long time with the Birmingham Lions (approx., seven years, 2013-19), and they have a great programme there so, although the sport is well run, it needs to be about a lot more than just the university programmes.

“Personally though, I’ve been lucky, and it’s been great, especially to have been involved from the start, even though most of us playing then were rugby players.

“There has been a good uptake though, and participation has been great.

“I guess, the only fear, as with a lot of clubs, is that the sport becomes more diluted and, in my opinion, it’s probably best not to have too many teams in the same area, in close proximity to each other.

“For me though, I used to play offense, and scored a few touchdowns, but I was getting sick of being the hunted,” she laughed, “so I became the hunter instead.”

Having made the first ever GB team, near a decade ago now, in 2013, Laura would captain her country against Spain, whilst being seen to go on and play at both European, and World Championships.

Even now, having spent time coaching GB Women at the 2019 Europeans, Laura, just last year, returned to playing and has since been picked by GB to play in the upcoming international qualifiers, against Sweden, and Germany.

“There’s been plenty of highlights for me,” continued Laura,

“Winning silver, in Spain (2015), and playing in Canada, at the worlds, two years later.

“I was at the Lions from the start (2013-19), and Jo Kirby, she did a fabulous job with that team, winning championships, and that’s helped towards the boom in which we’re seeing now.

“Myself though, now, I’ve coached at the University since 2018, and, when I came back this year, I wanted to try something different.

“I hadn’t really put the pads on though for what, four years say, but the IQ level, it goes a long way, and you often know as to where the ball is going.”

With the Caesars now both training, and playing, at the David Ross Sports Village, at the University of Nottingham, you’d be hard-pressed seeing beyond them, not only raising their A-Game this coming season, but taking that final step towards both winning the championship, and gaining promotion.

Granted there’s the small matter of the Birmingham Bulls and Chester Romans, Northants Knights and Sandwell Steelers, and the Sheffield Giants, to circumnavigate between late April and late July, but the drive, the vision, the will to succeed, is there.

“The Caesars, they’re my local club and it’s nice to be able to give something back,” added Laura.

“I’d seen the progression at Uni, and the only place I hadn’t been was the adult side, so here I am.

“Last year, for the Caesars, and with Leicester (Falcons), it was, maybe, just a step too far and there’s no mugs out there.

“We’re just about there though, and we’ve brought in the extra couching staff, doubled up on positions, and attracted new players, so that they, alongside a good, four or five, experienced heads, as well as moving things to university, will help us, on so many levels.”

Promotion in the mind of Moore, and the Caesars, is paramount to the progression, and is a key component to the future, of the club as a whole.

For Moore however, she’s looking forward to seeing how things do progress, both in a coaching capacity with the Caesars, and playing, for her country, with plenty of games in both in which to, hopefully, enjoy, and deliver, valued success.

“Moving forward, I’ll see how things progress this season, from a coaching perspective,” concluded Moore.

“But, I’ve also got some games playing with GB to look forward to, with the Euros being played in a league format.

“We’ve got Sweden to play in April, then Germany in May, as well as, I believe, a few friendlies later in the year, then we have Spain, and Finland, next year, to look forward to as well.”

As part of the Nottingham Caesars set-up, their 2023 BAFA NFC1 South campaign will see them play the following dates (all home games to be played at the David Ross Sports Village, University of Nottingham)

30 April vs Sheffield Giants (H); 7 May vs. Sheffield Giants (A); 14 May vs. Birmingham Bulls (H); 21 May vs. Sandwell Steelers (A); 4 June vs. Northants Knights (A); 11 June vs. Sandwell Steelers (H); 18 June vs. Northants Knights; 2 July vs. Chester Romans (A); 16 July vs. Chester Romans (H); 23 July vs. Birmingham Bulls (A).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @CaesarsFootball Laura Moore enjoying her latest switch of codes with the Caesars.

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