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Sir Graham Michael Lowe KNZM QSM is the owner of the Bradford Bulls together with fellow kiwi counterpart Andrew Chalmers.[2] He was a New Zealand former rugby league football coach and administrator. He previously coached in Australia and England and was the CEO of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. He is also the only non-Australian to coach a State of Origin team.

Sir Graham Lowe
Graham Lowe KNZM (cropped).jpg
Lowe in 2019
Personal information
Born (1946-10-02) 2 October 1946 (age 72)[citation needed]
New Zealand
Playing information
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1973–78 Otahuhu
1979–82 Norths (Brisbane)
1986–89 Wigan
1990–92 Manly-Warringah 70 40 3 27 57
1996 North Qld Cowboys 21 6 0 15 29
Total 91 46 3 42 51
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1983–86 New Zealand 6 1 0 5 17
1988 Rest of the World 1 0 0 1 0
1991–92 Queensland 6 3 0 3 50
1995 Western Samoa
Source: [1]

Playing careerEdit

Lowe was an Otahuhu Leopards junior and played in their premier side before he retired early due to injury.[3]

Coaching careerEdit


Lowe had begun coaching the Otahuhu under-18's in 1974 before becoming a first grade coach in 1977 at Otahuhu. The club won the Fox Memorial in his first year as coach. In 1979 he moved to the Brisbane club competition, coaching the Norths Devils.


In 1980 Lowe took the Norths club to the Brisbane Rugby League's grand final which they won. He coached Norths until the end of the 1982 season, his last game being against the Arthur Beetson-coached Redcliffe Dolphins at Dolphin Oval.[citation needed]In 1983, Graham Lowe was appointed coach of New Zealand. He would relinquish the Kiwis role in 1985 but returned to coach the Kiwis in 1985 and 1986. Under Lowe's coaching the Kiwis won two (including NZ's first win over Australia in twelve years at Lang Park in 1983) and lost 5 games, mostly losing to the powerful Wally Lewis-led Australians (NZ lost all three tests of the 1986 Trans-Tasman Tests).

In 1986, he moved to Britain's Rugby Football League competition, where he was to coach English club Wigan. Wigan had been bereft of success for 27 years. However, under Lowe's coaching at club level, Wigan would re-emerge to be a power in the British game. It was while Lowe was coaching that Wigan were able to secure the signatures of Great Britain players Ellery Hanley and Andy Gregory. Graham Lowe was the coach in Wigan's 15-8 victory over Oldham in the 1986 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1986–87 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 19 October 1986,[4] coach in the 28-16 victory over Warrington in the 1987 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1987–88 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 11 October 1987,[5] and coach in the 22-17 victory over Salford in the 1988 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1988–89 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 23 October 1988.[6] Lowe lead Wigan to their first Championship in 27-years during the 1986–87 season, and would go on to guide Wigan to their 1987 World Club Challenge victory over Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, the English club's first ever WCC title. He would also lead Wigan to success in both the 1988 and 1989 Challenge Cup finals.


Moving back to Australia, Lowe coached the team he had beaten in the 1987 WCC, Manly-Warringah, between 1990 and 1992. He was successful in bringing the Sea Eagles back to the finals in 1990 and 1991. During 1991, Lowe was appointed coach of the Queensland Maroons State of Origin team, becoming the first and so far only non-Australian to coach in the rugby league showpiece. After being appointed Maroons coach Lowe suffered from health problems when a blood clot in his leg threatened to end not only his coaching career but his life. He recovered in time to lead Queensland to a 2–1 victory over NSW in the 1991 State of Origin series. He was re-appointed for the 1992 series but Qld went down to the Phil Gould-coached Blues two games to one.

Graham Lowe also coached the Western Samoan side for the 1995 Rugby League World Cup.

In 1996, Lowe coached the North Queensland Cowboys on a one-year contract before stepping aside for Tim Sheens.

In the late 1990s he was a part owner of the Auckland Warriors.


In 2008 Lowe coached in New Zealand with the Bay of Plenty Stags of the National Provincial Competition.[7]

Administration careerEdit

On 25 November 2009, Lowe was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Manly Sea Eagles. He stood down from this position in April 2011 due to health issues.[8]

In the 2016 Auckland local elections, Lowe contested the Albany ward of the Auckland Council for Auckland Future.[9] He came fourth, missing out on one of two council positions.[10]

In January 2017, the previously liquidated Bradford Bulls was under control of Lowe. His first move at the club was to remove then-current coach Rohan Smith with replaced by former Manly Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey. The announcement of the replacement was followed by the signing of the Samoa Rugby Union Sevens sensation Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa.


Lowe was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for community service in the 1986 New Year Honours.[11]

In the 2013 New Year Honours, Lowe was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community.[12] In the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to youth and education.[13]


  1. ^ RLP
  2. ^ "Graham Lowe confirmed in Kiwi takeover of Bradford rugby league club". Stuff. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  3. ^ 1984 Autex Rugby League Annual, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1984. p.53
  4. ^ "1986–1987 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  5. ^ "1987–1988 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  6. ^ "1988–1989 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  7. ^ Graham Lowe back coaching Sunday News, 8 June 2008
  8. ^ Lowe stands down as Manly CEO Archived 26 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 28 April 2011
  9. ^ "Former coach stands for Council". LocalMatters. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Election Results 2016 - Albany Ward". Auckland Council. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  11. ^ Graham Lowe says serving Rugby League has been a privilege. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  12. ^ "New Year honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2019". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Ces Mountford
New Zealand national rugby league team

Succeeded by
Tony Gordon
Preceded by
Alan Thompson
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Succeeded by
Bob Fulton
Preceded by
Grant Bell
North Queensland Cowboys

Succeeded by
Tim Sheens
Preceded by
Arthur Beetson
State of Origin

Succeeded by
Wally Lewis