Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle sat down earlier in the year with the This Sporting Wife podcast and opened up on everything from the juggling act of being an NRL CEO, her success in lawn bowls to how snooker helps her unwind.
But the big question that came from the interview is how the head of Netball New Zealand ended up being surrounded by snipers with AK47s pointed at her.
Castle spoke to Sporting Wife hosts Shannon Byrne and Fiona Bollen about her crowning achievement and greatest memories from her time at the helm of Netball New Zealand, including being at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
“The whole Delhi experience was incredible because of the security and pressure that the environment that all the venues had had to deliver and outcome an event. When you’re walking down towards the venue and there are 23 snipers with AK47s pointing at you to make sure you get in the front door safely, that’s pretty overwhelming,” Castle explained.
“And I couldn’t be anywhere near the team, because the security was so tight I wasn’t allowed in the village, I wasn’t allowed to see the team. So the only time I was allowed to see the team was when we were at the venue and I had to be outside the court area.”
While the New Zealand netballers won the gold at that Games, Castle said losing the subsequent World Cup rates was one of two heart-breaking moments she’s had in sports administration, the other being the Bulldogs’ 2014 Grand Final loss to the Rabbitohs.
The quest to secure a premiership continues for Canterbury under Castle’s guidance, but success on the field is one factor she lists as a pillar for the club. And striving for that, along with commercial success and a strong community program keeps her extremely busy.
So how does she switch off and get some sleep?
“If I can’t sleep during the night I just get up and watch sport on television, and I don’t worry about it, because my view is it’s no different to going out and having a reasonably late night with your friends … People worry about not sleeping, I don’t worry about it,” she said.
“It’s going to surprise some people, but in the middle of the night, I like watching snooker. Very calming. Voice, commentary, very quiet; great skill; quite relaxing.
“If I get up during the night I might get through 10-15 minutes and then wake up three hours later.”
As well as talking about her life prior to rugby league, Castle told This Sporting Wife about how her arrival at Belmore completed a “weird circle of life”, and also how there was a possibility she could have gone to the NRL itself before the Bulldogs role came up.
Listen to the full interview below!