WA Rugby League’s Trip to Kalgoorlie

The following story was featured in the Kalgoorlie Miner on the 26th November after the WARL’s trip to Kalgoorlie.

Two of WA Rugby League’s major powerbrokers have urged locals with significant interests in the sport to take on active roles among renewed efforts to develop the game at grass roots level. WARL Chief Executive Officer John Sackson – on his first visit to the Goldfields – and Operations and Development Manager Dale Christy made the call this week as part of an extensive four day development schedule at local schools.

The free instructional sessions, which culminated with yesterday’s mixed non-contact Tag Gala Day at the Goldfields Oasis playing fields, form the backbone of the regions stepped up efforts to establish a viable junior program.

One of the conditions of Goldfields Titans being granted a State League license before the 2010 season was that the club be supported by an operational junior base within three years. Sackson and Christy are adamant there is more than enough interest among local youngsters to support Rugby League’s long-term future. But they are concerned the vast majority of the hard work continues to rest on the shoulders of Titans’ development and operations coordinator Rob Hunt. “We’re two years into a three-year agreement and for the sustainability of (Goldfields) Rugby League, junior development is critical,”

Sackson said. “Rob (Hunt) is well aware of the expectations associated with junior development and how critical it is. “We also know he’s working feverishly in those areas and from our point of view, we want to see the Titans survive here (in the Goldfields) and for rugby league to flourish – that’s why we’ve made a commitment to the region. “Rob Hunt is Mr Rugby League in the Goldfields, but from our viewpoint, he needs help. He needs to have a good, strong committee – people with the same passion and commitment as him (because) he can’t do it all by himself because it can’t be based on passion alone. “We want to see Rob get some additional support from Goldfields people who love rugby league, but the other key element of junior development is it brings parents. “With that comes the potential to attract more volunteers – people who are prepared to actually put their shoulder to the wheel and help the growth of Rugby League in the Goldfields.”

According to Christy, the key to local Rugby League remaining sustainable beyond Titans’ ranks was attracting selfless workers. “There’s no point getting involved if you’re chasing accolades because that’s not what it’s about,” Christy said. “What Rob is planning in the next 12 to 18 months is not going to come easily, but rather it will probably require a dedicated group of maybe six to 10 people – hard work and long days and nights for very little reward. “There will be disagreements along the way, but it’s for the benefit of the game and we’re confident Rob isn’t going to do it alone. “Initially, I don’t see a weekend competition in Kalgoorlie (because) it can’t happen overnight. “Instead, we need to get into the schools system because let’s say there’s already 600 kids at each school, well that’s 600 potential players straight away we can target. “We’re looking at doing a short six week schools-based competition next year. “That way, if we can get six or eight primary school teams, that’s great exposure for our sport.”