AUSTRALIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS RUBGY LEAGUE
ANNUAL REPORT 2007
by Bruce Wallace, President
Once again 2007 was an outstanding year for the ASSRL with new structures introduced for the Australian Championships and our flagship, the Australian Schoolboys Rugby League Team, once again proving that they are the undisputed world junior champions at the 18 years age group.
The major component of the core business of the ASSRLC Inc is to facilitate the selection of the finest junior Rugby League team at the 18 Years level in the Australian Rugby League. In 2007 this team was undefeated in its tour of New Zealand. The team won both tests and their preliminary game convincingly. This means in less than one year the Australian Schoolboys have defeated the England Academy, the French and the Kiwis – away, making them undisputed world junior Rugby League champions again.
This is an outstanding feat. Their coach, Simon Huntley, and manager, Stephen Duclos, were at the helm for both of these achievements and deserve all accolades for the way the team conducted itself and performed.
The new structures at the 18 years and 15 years Australian Championships proved to be very successful. Even with the extra teams in each division Queensland-White in the 15s and the Combined Affiliated States in the 18s, it showed that the new draw structure was fair and equitable maximizing opportunities for all players. Proof of the success was the Combined Affiliated States team reaching the semi-finals in Pool A.
Queensland Secondary Schools Rugby League and their partnership with the North Queensland Cowboys and the Townsville-Brothers Club provided the environment for the staging of an excellent Australian Championship. The synergy between these organizations led to an event of memorable quality. It produced an incredible Pool A final characterised by a do-or-die come back by NSWCHS against the valiant Queenslanders.
NSWCHS were victorious in Pool A and Queensland Secondary Schools were runners-up. The Northern Territory was successful over a very courageous Victorian team in the Pool B Championship final.
The Executive of the QSSRL, Steve Parle, President and particularly Phil Hall, Secretary, were responsible for the organisation of this event. They were ably supported by the CEO of the North Queensland Cowboys, Mr Peter Parr and his Board of Directors as well as the Board of Directors of the Brothers Club, Townsville. The Queensland Secondary Schools support staff were outstanding highlighted by the President of School Sport Australia, Mr Ken Rogers officially opening the Championships and then fulfilling his role as a member of the ground staff for the remainder of the Championship. Conveners, Todd Wilson and Rob Armstrong and all volunteers deserve recognition for their contribution to the success of this event.
The final presentation of the Australian Schoolboys team to tour New Zealand was highlighted by the presence of the Chairman of the Australian Rugby League, Mr Colin Love, presenting the Australian jerseys to the successful, selected players and delivering an encouraging speech to the crowd. The ASSRLC is most appreciative of such tangible support from our parent body.
The 15 Years Championships were hosted by the South Australian Rugby League in Adelaide at the magnificent Hindmarsh Stadium. Here, the restructure of the draw saw the addition of a second Queensland team in Pool A. Once again this initiative proved to be successful.
The Pool A Champions were NSW CHS – runners-up were NSW CCC
The Pool B Champions were Northern Territory – runners up were W.A.
The ASSRL passes on their appreciation to Mr Geoff Carr, CEO Australian Rugby League, for his presence and support during this Championship. Also the support of Secondary School Sport South Australia for their participation in the events associated with the Championships. In particular appreciation is extended to Paula Nielson, Manager, Secondary School Sport South Australia, for officially opening the Championships.
Bruce Walker, the Operations Manager of the South Australian Rugby League, and his committed organising committee deserve all of the accolades for the success of this event. Another feature was the participation of the ARL Development, senior management in assisting with the finals presentations and merit team announcements. Thanks to Bill Palmer, General Manager, Steve Palin, Operations Manager and Paul Walker, Communications Manager of ARLD, for their sponsorship and personal support of these Championships.
Once again the refereeing at both of these championships was of the highest standard. The young referees supplied by the Australian Rugby League Referees Association as part of the elite referees development program were outstanding in adjudicating the matches. It is with great sadness that we pay tribute to the passing away of Nick Euclid, former President of the QLDRA and member of the Executive of the ARLRA for his efforts at all levels of the game and for his particular support of the programs of the ASSRL both domestically and internationally. His enthusiasm, honesty and commitment will be greatly missed.
As previously mentioned the Australian Schoolboys tour of New Zealand was an outstanding success in every way. The feedback and compliments received by team management regarding the demeanor and behaviour of our players in all off-field circumstances were a tribute to the stature of these young men and the standards they espoused. Their outstanding behaviour was only matched by their incredible on-field performance which would be the envy of any NRL team.
Their exemplary performance is personified in the following results.
Game 1 vs Auckland Academy 26 - 10 Auckland
Game 2 vs 1st Test – New Zealand 40 – 20 Auckland
Game 3 vs 2nd Test – New Zealand 24 – 12 Rotorua
Tony Kemp, High Performance Manager, New Zealand Rugby League, was responsible for this memorable tour and we are grateful to all of the individuals or groups who contributed in any way in conducting and supporting this tour.
The new NRL National Youth Competition will create new challenges for our Rugby League organisations with the filtering down of the new age structures to 16s and 18s which are now the pre-match State of Origin ages. As well the restructure of the New Zealand Rugby League, High Performance systems could also impact and to some degree duplicate, what we do. As long as there is honest and open dialogue on all of the issues involved between all of the stakeholders – logical and ‘dove-tailed’ formats should be able to be created to minimize any potential adverse impacts.
Gratitude is also extended to Paul Osborne, Operations Manager, Rugby League Accredited Agents Scheme for attending our Championships and monitoring the conduct of Player Agents. Integral to the conducting of both Championships is the contribution of John Coates, Chief Operating Officer of the ARL, and Paul Walker, Communications Manager of ARL Development. Both of these gentlemen conduct subjective audits of the procedures and logistics at each Championship as well as assist with crucial judiciary matters. At the end of the Championships their respective reports are invaluable assessing the effectiveness of the Championship administration and the compliance of all teams to all the necessary procedures and protocols. We are grateful for their genuine commitment to our programs.
Next year brings about the Centenary of Rugby League in Australia. We are pleased to announce that the International Program of the ASSRL has been approved by the Centenary Committee as part of the official celebrations calendar for 2008. The England Academy will be touring next year during August and will play the Australian Schoolboys in two Test matches as curtain raisers to NRL fixtures. The French Juniors have also been invited to tour but as yet have not confirmed their intentions.
The Championships for next year will be hosted by the following bodies:
15 Years Championships host – QSSRL at Wynnum, Brisbane
18 Years Championships host – NTRL at Darwin.
The profile of the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League is a product of the great support we receive from our parent body, the ARL as well as the contribution of ARL Development to our programs. We are also generously supported by our major sponsors – Corporate Sports Australia and our long term sponsors – Classic Sportswear, without whom it would make representing their country by our players a much more expensive exercise. Thanks are also extended to The Australian Training Company who have been long term sponsors of our 18 years program. Lastly appreciation is extended to those NRL Clubs who support our programs and our Championships with prizes.
Congratulations are extended to Phil Hall, Secretary, Queensland Secondary Schools Rugby League on the bestowing of Life Membership to the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League Council. Phil’s long term contribution to the students involved in Australia and Queensland playing schoolboy Rugby League is immeasurable. This is a most deserved recognition of a lifetime of commitment to our sport.