2017 Holiday Inn Country Rugby League Volunteer and Club of the Year Awards

Updated: August 1, 2017

Country Rugby League will celebrate a number of its most valuable contributors this weekend at the Holiday Inn Country Rugby League Volunteer and Club of the Year awards in Sydney.

Six nominees are in the running to be named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ and ‘Club of the Year’ after regional voting nominations were received.

Country Rugby League are extremely thankful for the contributions volunteers make to our game and the fantastic work that our clubs do in their communities both on and off the field.

The winners will be revealed at the Holiday Inn Country Rugby League Volunteer and Club of the Year awards at the Holiday Inn Potts Point on Saturday, 5th August.


CRL Volunteer of the Year Nominations 

Western Region – Matt Guan (Dunedoo Swans)

Matt Guan has been nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the Western Region. Matt has received his nomination due to his long history of service to the game of Rugby League in the local region and is credited as one of the main reasons the game of Rugby League survives in the small town of Dunedoo (population 800). A former long-serving player, Guan has held various roles within the club including 12 years as President and 29 consecutive years as a Committee Member. Along with these commitments, Matt also fulfils roles as a referee, selector and Founder/ Coordinator of the annual Dunedoo Men of League Fundraising Bowls Day.


Greater Southern Region – Colin Shingles (Cooma Stallions)

Colin Shingles has been nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the Western Region. Colin has received his nomination due to his long association with the Cooma Stallions as a player, coach, manager and committee member. Shingles amassed over 400 games for the Stallions as a player and has been coaching the same Cooma Stallions junior rugby league side from Under-6’s through to Under-18’s. Colin is a current Committee and Life Member of the Stallions and still offers a contribution to the club each week by running water, assisting with coaching, managing the canteen, marking the field and being the general ‘go-to’ man for all things rugby league in Cooma.


Bidgee Region – Michael Kirkman (Group 9 JRL)

Michael Kirkman has been nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the Bidgee Region. Michael is currently a member of the Group 9 Junior Rugby League Board of Directors where he serves as Secretary after a long association with the game in the local community. Prior to joining Group 9, Michael had held various volunteer roles in the Tumbarumba-Batlow Minor League including President, Publicity Officer, Referees and Coaching Coordinator and Ground Announcer. Michael has also held various roles within Group 9 JRL, including Junior Vice-President and Chairperson of the Southern Pool. In his role as a Board Member and Director, Michael has been involved with the introduction of Ladies League Tag and the re-structuring of the Group 9 JRL Pool System amongst other initiatives.


East Coast Region – Lorraine Jessop (Forster-Tuncurry JRL)

Lorraine Jessop has been nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the East Coast Region. Lorraine has been nominated for her long association with the Forster-Tuncurry JRL club, where she has served as Registrar for the past 26 years. Even with the advent of online databases and tools, Lorraine has continued to dedicate her time to assisting the club in various roles including Apparel Sales, Assistant Secretary, Canteen Duties, FTJRLC General Delegate to Group 3 and General Committee Member.


Newcastle and Central Coast Region – Susan Moodie (Western Suburbs Newcastle)

Susan Moodie has been nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the Newcastle and Central Coast Region. Susan has been nominated for her services to the Western Suburbs Newcastle club in various roles including Team Manager, Registrar and her current role as Club Secretary over the past 11 years. Since assuming an Executive position, Susan has developed an ability to look at what is best for the game overall as opposed to being only focussed on her own club. Susan is a strong and vocal supporter of the rules governing player movement and subsequent talent equalisation and is highly respected across the group for her strong stance on these issues. Susan is always happy to lend a hand with Ground Manager, canteen and training duties when required.


Greater Northern Region – Jeanette Hillier (Glen Innes Magpies)

Jeanette Hillier has been nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the Greater Northern Region. Jeanette has been nominated for her continued service to the game over the past 30 years. In this time Jeanette has held various positions in administration, coaching and refereeing whilst continuously serving as a Sports Trainer since 1992. Jeanette is the current President of Group 19 Junior Rugby League and successfully combines this role with her position as Referees Coordinator for Glen Innes Junior Rugby League. Jeanette was named Club Person of the Year for Barraba Rugby League club in 1992-1993 and is a recipient of the Glen Innes Sports Council Service to Sports Award in 2016. Jeanette has also refereed Group 19 JRL Grand Finals and was a touch judge for the Group 19 A-Grade Men’s Grand Final in 2015.


CRL Club of the Year Nominations 

Western Region – Cabonne United Roos Junior Rugby League

The Cabonne United Roos Junior Rugby League Club formed in 2007 to cater for junior players living in small towns and villages in Molong, Manildra, Cumnock, Yeoval and Cudal to enjoy a sport they love without having to travel to larger regional centres. Over the past decade the club has evolved to become a highly sustainable junior base with a unique structure that maximises participation from the various small communities in its catchment area.  The club consistently fields all age groups in Lachlan District Junior League from Under-7’s to Under-16’s along with Under-12’s and 16’s Ladies League Tag.  The club are progressive and a testament to the adage that with a positive, determined approach – traditional barriers can be overcome, allowing smaller communities to work together for the good of the game.


Greater Southern Region – Berry-Shoalhaven Heads

The Berry-Shoalhaven Heads Magpies are a small club who focus on doing the little things right. With a strong focus on community engagement and player retention, the Magpies have been able to nurture a large percentage of players through the transition from junior to senior football with the local club and proudly boast a strong array of sponsors from the local community.  The clubs players, officials and volunteers are always prepared to share the work load with 1st Grade players often spotted working in the canteens during earlier matches on game days. The club also volunteers with the Berry Markets to run the clubs gates on multiple occasions throughout the season.


Bidgee Region – Lake Cargelligo Sharks Junior Rugby League

Adaptive and progressive thinking by the Lake Cargelligo JRL club has seen their junior playing base grow by over 50% in a single season. The Sharks decided this season to move their junior football from exclusively Saturdays to play on both days of the weekend according to whether they are ‘home’ or ‘away’.  This has meant that their role in the Group 20 Junior Rugby League, a centrally located competition based some 150 to 175km’s away in Griffith and Leeton, has changed significantly. Instead of having to travel every week they now enjoy a home game every second Sunday with their senior club. Both clubs actively share the canteen, gatekeeper and ground manager duties and the innovation to play on Sundays has resulted in the growth of their junior playing base. The change has also resulted in increased player numbers and games played in nearby Hillston (who combine players with various Lake Cargelligo sides).


East Coast Region – Sawtell Panthers Junior Rugby League

With a positive and pro-active committee, the Sawtell Panthers have been able to create a community-minded junior rugby league club that have achieved great results on and off the field in 2017. The Panthers have recorded strong registration numbers throughout the season and have been extremely proactive in embracing development opportunities which have been presented to them. The club have actively engaged in initiatives such as Shoosh for Kids Week and Women in League Round and are always accommodating with event scheduling at their home-ground.


Newcastle and Central Coast – Dudley-Redhead Magpies Junior Rugby League

With a focus on development, community, schooling and retention the Dudley-Redhead Magpies is a club evolving into a strong nursey for young, aspiring rugby league players. There is a strong emphasis on Dudley-Redhead’s administration and governance to ensure the club is compliant with NJRLA / CRL and all other relevant bodies Rules and Regulations and the club has supported all initiatives put forward by NJRLA / CRL and actively participates in these.  There is a strong sense of community pride at the Magpie’s club which is assisting their current player retention rates. The club is viewed by many as a warm and welcoming club to opposing sides and always puts sportsmanship first. The Magpies have also worked hard to upgrade their facilities and have been willing to share them with various local and travelling sides throughout the year.


Greater Northern – Merriwa Junior Rugby League

The Merriwa JRL club are celebrating 50-years this season and there’s been plenty of reason to celebrate for the small club, with registrations rising 158% in recent seasons. The club have 11 sides playing tackle and Ladies League Tag in 2017 – thanks to a small band of local volunteers who work tirelessly to provide opportunities for young people in the Merriwa District to play rugby league each and every year. If the club is unable to field enough numbers for an age group, members are known to happily take players to nearby towns to ensure they are able to play the game, even if it can’t be in their colours.