2012 has been a spectacular year for the programs of the ASSRL. The highlights being, the 40th anniversary of the first tour to England by the Australian Schoolboys in 1972 which was synchronised with the launch of our comprehensive and professionally produced history of the Australian Schoolboys - "In a class of their own". This was combined with a 40th anniversary reunion of all past players in Sydney at the brand new Steve Waugh function room of the Sydney Cricket Ground. Also, this year’s Australian Schoolboys team could arguably be, one of the best ever.
Other outstanding moments include; the bestowing of Life- membership to David Maclean from the Northern Territory Schools Rugby League and three wonderful schoolboy championships, the Affiliated States, 18 Years in Adelaide, the 15 Years in Darwin and the 18 Years in Port Macquarie.
The 40 year anniversary function and book launch was one of the finest moments in our brief history. Past players and officials of all past teams were invited to attend this professionally organised function. Hosted by Tim Gilbert from Channel 9 Sports, it was an event which we should be very proud of. Key-note speaker was Roy Masters, coach of the first ever touring team in 1972. Roy was at his laconic best and book author, Charles Magee, outlined his passion for the outstanding piece of work which he so thoroughly researched and wrote.
Former Rugby League internationals, Danny Buderus, Matthew Gidley, Nathan Cayless, Bradley Clyde, Ian Schubert, Royce Ayliff and many other high profile players were in attendance. As well, former Australian Schoolboy Coach and international player and coach, David Waite, was also in attendance. David was a contributor to the "reflections" in the book. All former players and officials were complimentary on the standard of this event and of the quality of the book, of which, they are the prime subject.
The core business of the ASSRL is to select an international schoolboy team to represent Australia. This year’s team had the huge challenge of playing the might of the England Academy, who defeated the Australian Schoolboys on their last tour in 2010. The team dominated the England Academy in both Tests in Canberra and Brisbane.
This team had some outstanding individuals in terms of skill-level, speed and physical size. The first Test was played in conjunction with the Raiders v Canterbury NRL match at Canberra Stadium on August 5. After a ferocious start to the match the Australian boys kept their composure and patience and eventually won the match convincingly 43-10. The second Test at Wynnum-Manly in Brisbane, witnessed another dominant performance by the Australian Schoolboys (42-14). The team was consistently able to score from anywhere on the field, scoring a number of long range tries in both Tests. This team’s achievements were quite outstanding when the quality of the opposition is taken into account.
The 15 years Australian Championships were hosted by the Northern Territory Rugby League. Once again the warm, dry conditions provided for fast, dry weather football at the well-appointed, Harvey Norman Stadium. Pool A saw an outstanding final between NSWCCC and Queensland (Maroon) which saw the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges as Champions. Pool B witnessed the home state win an exciting final against the strong West Australian team. The players dinner at the Darwin Yacht Club, with guest speaker, Duncan Macgillivray, was a most memorable event under the stars by the water. Gratitude is extended to John Mitchell, the General Manager of the NTRL, and his band of workers for staging such a quality event.
The 18 Years division is now characterised by two linked yet individual events. The Sam Davey Shield for the Affiliated States was held in Adelaide. Here a representative team was selected from NT, WA, VIC and SA which participated in the 18 years Australian Championships in Port Macquarie (NSW). The winners of the Sam Davey Shield were the Victorians. Once again Ken Kennedy, the General Manager of the SARL and the Affiliated States Executive, Graham McNaney and Joe Messina facilitated an outstanding carnival. One of the highlights was the guest speaker at the players dinner, Gareth Whiddop, Great Britain international, Melbourne Storm, premiership winning player and former Victorian and Affiliated States representative.
The Australian Championships in Port Macquarie facilitated the selection of one of the finest representative Australian teams in recent times. The very able NSW Combined Catholic Colleges team dominated the selections after a convincing finals victory over NSW Combined High Schools. It was the quality of the players that missed out on selection that made it obvious how strong this Australian team really was. The players’ dinner at the Port Macquarie Race Club was an outstanding affair with the Men of League guests, John Peard and Ron Pearce passing on wise advice to the players. Key-note speaker was Ian Schubert, current NRL Salary Cap Auditor, former Kangaroo, and member of the first Australian Schoolboys team.
This 18 Years, event was hosted by NSW Combined High Schools and the Convenors of the event David Whittock, Paul Walsh and David Gale, deserve all of the accolades for its coordination. The publicity generated prior to, and during the event was outstanding. The Port Macquarie News had colour spreads in its publications and the NBN-TV Sports gave excellent coverage on the nightly News. The support of the Port Macquarie Council, as well as the support of the people and community of the Hastings was, as we have come to expect, in this Rugby League heartland.
David Maclean is the longest ever serving teacher on the ASSRL Council, from the Northern Territory. His involvement from school level to coaching and managing Affiliated States Teams, coordinating trials in the NT, coaching and managing NT teams at 15s and 18s and most recently the ASSRL representative at the Affiliated States Championships, are the many roles he has fulfilled at his level of involvement. David is a most deserved recipient of the honour of Life-membership of the ASSRL Council.
The ASSRL biennial conference will be held in late November. The theme is "future directions" and student welfare and education. We appreciate the NRL Welfare and Education representatives for making themselves available to convey to the conference the initiatives and program's which have been implemented by the NRL for junior and Toyota Cup representatives.
Next year’s ASSRL program has the 15 Years Australian Championships in Canberra as a part of the Centenary of the ACT. The 18 Years Championships will be held in Cairns, in Queensland. The Affiliated States 18 Years Championships will be held in Adelaide in SA. The Australian Schoolboys international team will be playing the New Zealand Residents in NZ.
Gratitude is extended to the Australian Rugby League Commission, particularly, Andrew Hill, the General Manager of Game Development, for the genuine support received on all matters pertaining to the programs of the ASSRL. Also appreciation is extended to, John Coates, NSWRL Executive Officer, the ARL Commission mentor for the 18s Championships, for his tireless work and for his brilliant coordination of the recent 40 year reunion and book launch. Paul Walker, NRL education and welfare, ARL Commission mentor for the 15s Championships, has been a long term supporter of the program's of the ASSRL and we are grateful for his continued support.
To our major sponsors Classic Sportswear and the Federal Ministry for Health and Ageing, thanks are extended for your substantive support of our programs. Appreciation is also extended to the Australian Training Company and the Player Agents Association for their contributions to the program's of the ASSRL.
The Internationals were supported incredibly by firstly; the Canberra Raiders and we extend our sincerest appreciation to Don Furner, CEO, Canberra Raiders. Gratitude is also extended to Phill Dodd, ACT delegate and marketing strategist to the ASSRL, for his coordination of this event. The Wynnum-Manly Leagues Club is the home of Australian Schoolboy Rugby League and Arthur Lovell, President and the Board of Directors of this great club provided the venue for a wonderful stand alone event for the second Test. They provided an outstanding after match function to farewell our English visitors which was the usual Wynnum hospitality. Thanks again for this unerring support.
As this is the year of my retirement from teaching and from the Presidency of the ASSRLC Inc, after 17 years of service, I would like to pass on my appreciation to the hardworking Council of the ASSRL and my colleagues on the Executive. To all of the volunteer school teachers that make schoolboy Rugby League the great product it is - thank you for your commitment, expertise and tireless efforts. Thanks to the parents and all those who positively support schoolboy Rugby League, it really is in a "class of its own".
Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League Council Inc.
Nowra High School