How a deal made at the Wahgunyah pub helped motivate a state champion

After winning her single sculling event at the Rutherglen Regatta in January, Briley Monahan’s coach, Adrian Keats, made her a deal.

“I promised her that if she continued to do well, to my satisfaction, up to the Head of the Schoolgirls in March, she could colour my hair for the Head of the Schoolgirls,” he explained.

However the definition of “satisfactory” was his decision.

“Winning, yes, but also rowing well in regattas,” he said. “No set criteria, entirely up to me.”

Adrian, on the bank, talks to Briley, in the boat.

Briley heads out to her final at the Head of the Schoolgirls

Briley says the deal helped motivate her to do her best.

“It added a sense of fun and excitement throughout the season,” she said. “Being able to achieve and being one step closer to reaching his expectations was exciting.”

After Briley won the Open Single Scull at the Victorian Junior State Championships, Adrian declared that his performance criteria had been met.

The new hair colour would be red and green – the colours of her school, Clonard College – and would be dyed by Briley’s mother, who is a hairdresser.

Adrian’s new look was a hit around the Barwon Rowing Club, where Clonard College’s rowing program is based.

“I think he suits it very well, mum came up with a great design and he is a great sport to go through with the deal,” Briley said of Adrian’s hair. “I think his hair looks good with a splash of colour.”

Briley racing in her single scull

Briley racing at the Head of the Schoolgirls

It would be the first time Briley had raced at the Head of the Schoolgirls in a single scull, after only moving into that class of boat four months ago, and she was both excited and nervous at the prospect.

“But I knew that Adrian had prepared me for the races and I had put in the hard work through the season to prepare myself,” she said.

Briley came fourth in the Open Division 2 Single Scull from a field of 19 rowers

“Although I didn’t win I was just as excited to be in the A final and to be rowing against the wonderfully talented girls in which I competed against,” she said.

Adrian was also happy with Briley’s result.

“She was up against seasoned scullers with probably a year or more experience than her,” he said. “Her Head of the Schoolgirls performance was outstanding.”

Adrian and Briley pose for the camera.

Adrian and Briley

After turning to rowing when a knee injury prevented her from playing netball, Briley hasn’t really thought about her future in the sport.

“I hope I can continue well in to the future, simply enjoying and improving my rowing,” she said. “I hope that I will be able to compete in the Head of the Schoolgirls next year for my last year of rowing at a school girl level.”

Briley will now be training hard during winter as she looks ahead to next year’s Head of the Schoolgirls where she will race in Division 1 as Clonard College’s senior sculler.

From a coach’s perspective, Adrian is positive about her future.

“She has an excellent attitude, is very determined, and her sculling future is bright indeed,” he said. “I just put her on the water and say ‘go.'”


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