NRL WA wants Thomas Oval

Exclusive Chloe Fraser, Sound Telegraph

The National Rugby League is putting down roots in Kwinana as the sport gets set to grow in WA.

The plan, which received council support last week, will see a new development and education NRL hub at Thomas Oval in the suburb of Medina.

NRL WA also plans to host State, regional and national representative junior pathway programs and establish a local grassroots rugby league and touch football club. The closest club is currently the Rockingham Sharks.

Earlier this year, NRL WA approached the City about leasing its facilities as a base for activities, development and promotion.

Proposal documents between NRL WA and the City reveal that after a series of meetings, the Thomas Hall Pavilion and facilities at the oval were selected as the best place to deliver the NRL and NRL Touch Football WA game development and education hub.

Illawarra Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa training at Thomas Oval in February this year.
Illawarra Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa training at Thomas Oval in February this year. Credit: Chloe Fraser/Sound Telegraph.

At its meeting last week, council unanimously authorised chief executive Wayne Jack to arrange a lease agreement.

Cr Matthew Rowse said the proposal would bring a “real benefit” to the youth of Kwinana and the wider community.

As part of the proposed three-year lease, NRL WA will be responsible for electricity, cleaning, maintenance, repair and replacement costs.

Mayor Carol Adams said that it was an exciting partnership for the City.

“This facility will provide Kwinana and the wider region with greater diversity of sports, the ability to receive training and development in rugby league and a greater connection to the NRL,” she said.

The Mayor said the City would provide further information once a lease arrangement was signed in the coming weeks.

As part of the plan, Thomas Oval could also be the new home-base of the South West Dolphins, which is the representative pathway system for regional clubs including Serpentine Jarrahdale Serpents, Rockingham Sharks, Mandurah Storm, Dalyellup Rhinos and Albany Sea Dragons Rugby League.

Rockingham Sharks Rugby League director Peter Rowe said it was an exciting prospect for the game in WA.

“Any opportunity to grow and develop our game in WA is welcomed,” he said.

“We’re still battling to get an NRL team here in Perth. We’ve got to try and find ways to improve opportunity and this would be a huge boost for kids coming through pathways.”

NRL WA has declined to comment before the lease arrangement is finalised.