Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League Council Inc.
ANNUAL REPORT 2011
By Bruce Wallace, President
Nowra High School
In conclusion to another great year for schoolboy Rugby League, the ASSRL is pleased to announce the granting of Life Memberships to the ASSRL Council of an unprecedented four new members. All are outstanding recipients who have made incredible contributions to secondary schools Rugby League.
The recipients are as follows; Mr Phil Beecher, current Secretary of the ASSRLC and an Executive member since 1997, Mr Brian Pearson, current Treasurer of the ASSRLC and an Executive member since 1997, Mr Steve Parle, current Chairman of the Queensland Secondary Schools Rugby League, and Mr Arthur Lovell, President/Chairman of the Wynnum – Manly Rugby League Club – an honorary life membership for outstanding support of the ASSRLC and its programs since 1998. All of these four gentlemen have been actively involved in creating opportunities for schoolboys to achieve excellence in their chosen sport. The ASSRL Council is indebted to these men for their tireless commitment and for the profile which the ASSRL Council now enjoys.
With the evolution of the new Rugby League Commission and the dissolution of the ARL, the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League Council wishes to pay tribute to Mr Geoff Carr, former CEO of the ARL. Geoff has been the person overseeing the programs of the ASSRL Council since the mid nineties and has been incredibly supportive of ASSRL programs and initiatives. He has also been of great assistance with difficult international negotiations which have arisen at times, creating solutions to problems which at first seemed unable to be solved. He has attended Australian Championships and International events and promoted the programs and profile of the ASSRL. The ASSRL Council thanks Geoff for his genuine support and contribution over the last fifteen years. Geoff remains as the General Manager of the NSW Rugby League.
2011 has been anothersuccessful year for the ASSRL, particularly highlighted by two outstanding Australian Championships, the 18 Years Combined Affiliated States Championships (as part of a recent restructure) and the selection of a most formidable 18 Years National team to tour New Zealand in October this year. Also, the continuance of a significant sponsorship with the Federal Government Ministry for Ageing and their particular initiative, ACHIEVE IN SPORT – “Don’t Let Drugs Destroy Your Future” has been of outstanding benefit to the programs of the ASSRL and the students participating in these programs.
The 15 Years Championships were hosted by the Western Australian Rugby League and was an outstanding event conducted at the tremendous facility of ‘nib’ Stadium and also at the North Beach Club facilities when the wet weather prevented the use of ‘nib’. John Sackson, CEO of WARL, Dale Christie, the Convener and their band of co-workers did an incredible job in hosting this event. Both the managers’ and players’ dinners were quality experiences. It was excellent to have the Rugby League Ambassadors, David Peachey and former WA player, Bronx Goodwin, address the players at the Players Dinner. Appreciation is extended to Paul Walker for his valuable contribution to the Championships and for being the ARL and ARLD representative for this event.
Pool A 15 Years Champions – NSWCHS
Pool B 15 Years Champions - Victoria
The Sam Davey Shield, for the 18 Years Combined Affiliated States Championships, was also an outstanding event hosted by the South Australian Rugby League. Every aspect of this event was of the highest quality which was reflected in the excellent Combined Affiliated States team selected from this event. The dinner was highlighted by having Joel Reddy as guest speaker. It was great for the players to realise that there is a genuine pathway to the NRL via this system and that Joel is a former South Australian player who has achieved this goal. Ken Kennedy, General Manager, South Australian Rugby League is to be congratulated for his efforts and also Graham McNaney and Joe Messina from the ARLD, for their coordination and genuine support.
The 18 Years Championships were hosted by the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges and held at the outstanding St Marys facility. Nal Wijesekera, President NSWCCC Rugby League, James Clancy, the event Convenor and their band of school teacher volunteers staged an outstanding event at the well appointed St Marys Stadium. The cooperation received from the Board of Directors and club staff of the St Marys Leagues Club was an outstanding feature of this event. Jason Taylor was an engaging guest speaker and delivered a powerful message about commitment. Both Ron Pearce and John Peard addressed this dinner and informed the audience of the importance of the Men of League organisation. All speakers imparted important messages to our young audience about the importance of education to their futures. Appreciation also is extended to John Coates, Executive Manager of the ARL for his representation and work at all official championship program items, for the entire week.
18 Years Champions – NSWCCC
Congratulations to the Australian Schoolboys team and first time Australian coach, Peter Denham, on their recent tour of New Zealand. After losing the first International 28-26 in very wet and windy conditions, the team regrouped to win the second International 40 points to 16. The team responded positively to the challenge of international competition and the tour again highlighted the value of the trans-Tasman competition. I would especially like to congratulate the team management: Peter Denham (Coach), Stephen Hooper (Manager), Geoff Eggert (Trainer), Ben Heidenreich (Physiotherapist) and Brian Pearson (ASSRL Executive Representative), for their professional approach and leadership of the team.
This team also included the first Combined Affiliated States and Victorian player to be selected as an Australian Schoolboys representative – Richard Kennar from Craigieburn Secondary College. After a very strong performance at the 18 Years National Championships, Richard was identified by the selectors as a shadow player for the team to tour New Zealand. After an injury to centre Pat Mata’utia suffered in the first International, Richard was called in as a replacement for the second International. He again performed strongly in the game and highlighted that the CAS initiative is a realistic pathway for boys from the Affiliated States. Congratulations, Richard, on this fine achievement.
The ASSRL was also appreciative of the support for their programs by Mr. Andrew Hill, NRL Director of Integration and Development. Andrew was in attendance at both national championships and his genuine interest in the development of the schools’ programs is most welcomed. It is very rewarding to see an ex-Australian Schoolboy player having such a positive and ongoing relationship with the ASSRL.
The 2012 program promises to be a very significant and exciting year in the history of the ASSRL. It will be 40 years since the 1972 team set off on its historic tour under the guidance of Roy Masters and Sam Davey. To mark this event the ASSRL is planning to publish a book written by Mr Charlie McGee of the history of the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League. It is envisaged that this book will be launched by a 40 Year Reunion for all players and officials of the Australian Schoolboys. Internationally, the Australian Schoolboys will play internationals against the England Academy and French touring teams. Domestically, the 18 Years Championships will be hosted by NSWCHS at Port Macquarie and the 15 Years Championships will be hosted by the NTRL in Darwin.
With the implementation of the RL Commission in 2012, I hope that the commission has a genuine development focus to ensure that the game, at the level we serve, prospers well into the future, considering all the challenges it has to face.
Finally, appreciation is extended to all the volunteer school teachers, school principals, directors of education and most importantly the parents and supporters of our players, for their support and efforts in making Schoolboy Rugby League the outstanding product that it is.