While network coding can potentially provide significant throughput benefits by combining packets prior to forwarding them, the achievable gains are directly related to the coding opportunities at a relay that performs encoding. If the relay does not have packets destined for distinct destinations, that can be encoded together, the network coding gains could be marginal. Towards increasing the opportunities for network coding, in this paper we propose a queue management scheme, that arbitrates the rate at which distinct transmitters send packets to a common relay which applies network coding. Our queue management approach prioritizes the channel access of nodes that do not have enough enqueued packets at the common relay, thereby essentially attempting to balance the number of packets from the distinct senders at the relay. We perform extensive simulations of our approach (built as a wrapper on top of the popular network coding approach COPE) in multi-rate scenarios. We find that our approach yields throughput gains of up to 57% compared to COPE due to enhanced opportunities towards encoding packets.