“Communication is what makes a team strong,” says the coach of the Kiwi rugby league team, Brian McClennan, after leading the Kiwis to victory in the Tri-Nations final last year.
It was the first time since 1953 that New Zealand won over Australia, and it was the first time since 1978 that Australia lost a series.
McClennan says he “couldn’t be happier” with the new web-based communication portal that the league has been using for a couple of months. KnowledgeNET, developed by Kiwi companies Knowledge Networks and Dataview and originally aimed at schools, is used by over a hundred schools in New Zealand, including Rangitoto College and Takapuna Grammar School.
“KnowledgeNET is a learning management system that allows cluster schools, teachers, administrators, students and parents to communicate and to share knowledge and information,” says Phil Giller, national sales manager at Dataview.
Previously, when information needed to be passed to the 40-odd New Zealand rugby league players, spread out in New Zealand, Australia, France and the UK, the telephone was the primary communication tool.
“To get one message across to everybody took a week,” says McClennan. “It was an absolute nightmare for the management.”
All users have a username and password for their own secured, customised area where they can see their own relevant information and create electronic portfolios, says Giller. There is also a research area, a staff area and a cluster zone, where schools can share information and knowledge.
For the rugby league players, coaching staff and management, KnowledgeNET is an efficient information channel for travel itineraries, accommodation arrangements, schedules, requirements, code of conduct and other information, says McClennan. They also use the portal for “general chitchat”, sharing ideas and photos, for group discussions or confidential communication between, for example, a player and the coach, he says.
“The most important part of the system is that it enables communication,” he says. “Because you build relationships with people through communication. Even just talking and joking on the forums helps bring our team in closer. It keeps everyone keen and the players look forward to meeting each other again.”