2019 Holiday Inn CRL Community Awards

Updated: August 21, 2019
Copy of Copy of 2018 Holiday Inn CRL Volunteer Awards (1)

Country Rugby League will celebrate a number of its most valuable contributors this weekend at the Holiday Inn Potts Point CRL Community Awards in Sydney.

18 nominees are in the running to be receive the ‘Volunteer of the Year’, ‘Club of the Year’ and ‘Women in League Award’ 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 Community Awards at the Holiday Inn Potts Point on Saturday, 24th August.

Volunteer of the Year Nominations:

Greater Northern Region – Lillian Hagan (Denman Devils Junior Rugby League)

Lillian is currently the Secretary of Denman Juniors and does everything from operating the canteen to handling all registrations and merchandise for all teams, cleaning the toilets, grandstand and dressing sheds after home games, First Aid, Ground Managing and Managing the Under-12’s – Lillan has washed their jerseys every game for the last six years. Lillan has four children that play for the club and is the first person at training on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help wherever she can. Lillan has been instrumental in creating a supportive and encouraging environment for women in the local community to be involved in the game. For example, Lillan encouraged numerous mothers to complete their level one First Aid course to help their children’s teams because fathers are often not available due to shift work in the area.


East Coast Region – Mark Harrison (Cudgen Hornets)

Mark Harrison has volunteered in Rugby League for the past 32 years and his current roles include Secretary / Treasurer of Cudgen, Board Member of NRRRL, Group 18 JRL Delegate to East Coast Region and overseeing the Northern Rivers Titans Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cups, Men’s Under-23’s and Women’s Country Championship and Under-16’s and Opens League Tag Representative sides. Mark commenced his volunteer role at 19 years of age as Treasurer for Bilambil RLFC. He has held numerous roles as a Coach of several clubs, Coach of Representative Teams, Sports Trainer roles and Club Executive positions. Mark joined Cudgen Hornets RLFC as an executive member in 2018 and in 2019, Mark assisted the club to establish a board of directors. In 2018, Mark also organised the trip of a lifetime for some of the Group 18 Junior Under-15’s players, who travelled to England and France where they represented Group 18 and CRL in the ‘Battlefield Challenge’.


Newcastle / Central Coast Region – Thomas George Hickey (Dudley Redhead Magpies Junior Rugby League)

George is a Life Member of both Dudley Redhead JRLFC and Newcastle Rugby League for his 36 years of service in various volunteer and administrative roles. He has held roles such as Team Manager, Secretary, Board Member and Chairman and his commitment was further recognised in 2018 when he received a CRL pin for his service. The Dudley Redhead Magpies JRLFC have had George manage some of their major projects which has allowed the club to grow into one of the regions’ most nurturing and welcoming football clubs, resulting in the club winning CRL Club of the Year in 2017.   Through political lobbying and seeking grants, George has overseen the redevelopment of the playing surface and the introduction of a Mini Field for the Under-6’s and 7’s. There have also been upgrades to the change rooms, a new electronic scoreboard and improved seating options. Since the upgrades have been completed, George has helped ensure Dudley Oval is the base of the CRL Newcastle Women’s team. This has directly had a measurable impact in the ability of the club to attract their first ever Dudley Redhead female side which competes in the Under-14’s Newcastle competition. On game days, George attends the roles of Time Keeper, Ground Announcer and Ground Manager.


Western Region – Craig Parsons (Kandos Waratahs)

Craig is the current President of Kandos JRL as well as Kandos Seniors. He also holds the position of Registrar for the Senior League and Treasurer for Junior League. Craig has been involved in Rugby League through various roles for an incredible 24-year span. Coming to the game as a parent and Referee in 1995, Craig has continued his dedication to volunteering and service with Kandos Junior Rugby League Club throughout the subsequent years. As his children aged and became members of the Senior club, Craig offered his services to the seniors, whilst continuing his work with Juniors. During his time as President of the Senior club, Kandos has experienced success both on and off the field, culminating in two premierships during his tenure. When it became evident in 2019 that Kandos would not field a senior team, Craig aimed to shift the efforts of the senior players living locally to start an in-town mixed League Tag program for their junior base. Refusing to let Rugby League die in the small village with a population of 1,200 people, Craig has committed to maintaining a committee, holding meetings and preparing for the 2020 season. He has also been instrumental in securing a grant for a new video scoreboard at Waratah Park which will be installed and ready for next season. Craig has also been involved as a junior and senior League referee for over twenty years.


Greater Southern Region – Russell Roger Henry (Mt Warrigal Kooris United)

Russell is the current coach of The Mt Warrigal Kooris United Men’s Third Grade team and is also one of three founders of the club when they reformed in 2017. Russell has been the Third Grade Coach since then and has won two consecutive premierships. Russell sets up the home field every weekend which involves carrying heavy temporary fencing. By putting up temporary fencing each week, Mt Warrigal have funds to continue to enter the Group 7 competition. Mt Warrigal Kooris United is the only Indigenous based sporting club that takes the field every week in the area. Russell has started something that is great for young indigenous men, women and young adults to play a sport they love with representing their culture.


Bidgee Region – Raymond ‘Ack’ Weyman (Moruya Sharks)

Raymond or ‘Ack’ as he is known, is currently 73 years old and still straps players prior to games. He also helps to mark the lines and is involved in every aspect of the club from fundraising, player recruitment and helping on game days. Ack has been involved with Rugby League all his life, from coaching juniors, playing, club president, treasurer, fundraiser to line marking. In 1988, Ack borrowed earthmoving equipment from the local council and with a team of volunteers gave up their weekends to build the club grounds at Moruya. The Grounds were named ‘Ack Weyman Oval’ by the council to acknowledge his contribution.  Ack offers support and advice to young players and in the past, has transported players to and from Canberra for training and selection trials.  Ack is a mentor and role model to players that have grown up with him being an integral part of the Moruya club.

Club of the Year Nominations:

Greater Northern Region – Manilla Minor Rugby League

The Manilla MRL club has for many years provided an opportunity for players living in the town to play Rugby League. The club has historically only fielded sides from Under-6’s to Under-12’s but this season they also fielded sides in Under-13’s and 14’s divisions. The club also draws members from Barraba which is located another 46 kilometres from Manilla; this has allowed more members of the community the opportunity to play and Manilla has ten teams in 2019. The club also arranged a New Year’s Eve spectacular for the township and used this to promote their club in the community. Manilla followed this up with other activities in the community to ensure that parents and children were informed that the club is there to benefit the community.


East Coast Region – Kyogle Junior Rugby League 

The relatively small, yet proud Kyogle Junior Rugby League Club have the highest Junior Rugby League player retention rates (88%) in Group 1 JRL and have grown their playing numbers by almost 20% over the past two seasons. Kyogle also have a perfect Coach Accreditation record and have been active in assisting their local community by creating fundraising opportunities. Kyogle are focused on creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all of their participants.


Newcastle / Central Coast Region – West Wallsend Junior Rugby League

The small but enthusiastic volunteer base at West Wallsend Junior Rugby League Club work hard to create a welcoming learning environment. They provide coaching to support the local school teams as well participating in community fundraising activities and wider programs such as the Mark Hughes Foundation Beanies for Brain Cancer. The club is also an active participant in initiatives such as SHOOSH for Kids. Playing numbers have grown significantly in 2019, increasing from 56 to 81 and Male participation has increased by 53 percent. The club now proudly boasts teams in the Under-6’s, 7’s, 10’s, 12’s, 14’s and 16’s divisions.


Western Region – Menindee Yabbies 

Menindee Yabbies RLFC have always been a focal point of its community but in 2019 the club became a vital part of Rugby League in Far West NSW. The town’s welcome sign once listed the population at 900, now it says 550. Despite this, Menindee Yabbies have 104 registered players across Juniors, Men’s and Women’s divisions. Despite some Outback teams withdrawing from the competition, the Yabbies continued to play and keep Rugby League alive in the town. The Yabbies have consistently led the way at 2019 Outback Rugby League Junior Gala Days, with more than 25 players representing the Yabbies at all five events. Hosting two of these gala days, the Yabbies linked with their community to accommodate Junior Rugby League in the morning at Burke and Wills Park before providing a food stall at the ‘Dancing on the Darling’ Music Festival.


Greater Southern Region – Sussex Inlet & District Rugby League Football Club Inc.

The Sussex Inlet and District Club participate in numerous charity and fundraising events annually and provide a voice for the community during times of struggle and hardship. The Club participates in the annual Choppers for Charity event, which is a fundraiser for Careflight, initiated by the people of Sussex Inlet 17 years ago. Players march in the parade and man the BBQ for the event with profits assisting Careflight. The committee have nominated to host junior Gala Days and Semi-Finals, which assists with promoting the family and community values that have become part of the club’s culture. Sussex Inlet also sponsor the local newspaper and school students that may need financial assistance to participate in their sporting activities. Since 2015, their junior player numbers have increased from 31 registered players to 88 players in 2019.


Bidgee Region – Tathra Sea Eagles 

In 2018, Tathra Seniors had just re-joined the competition for the first time in four years with a Reserve Grade and League Tag team. Just as the competition was about to commence, the town was devastated by a major bushfire that destroyed over 70 homes and was declared a National Emergency. Amazingly, the community gained strength from the bushfire that saw the Junior and Senior Rugby League Clubs unite. As the 2019 season approached and the town was starting to rebuild, there was an influx of construction and trade jobs that boosted employment in the Tathra area. This enabled many young people that had moved away to return home because they were able to find work, many reconstructing their own families’ homes. This allowed Tathra to field First Grade, Reserve Grade and League Tag teams this season. In 2019, the Junior Club proudly boasts a team in every male and female age group, despite the town having less than 1,500 residents.

Women in League Nominations:

Greater Northern Region – Bianca Johnston (Muswellbrook District Junior Rugby League)

Bianca is the Muswellbrook JRL Women’s League Coordinator for their six teams. Bianca’s hard work is one of the main reasons Women’s Rugby League is available to play in Group 21. She urged Muswellbrook to join the CRL 9’s competition in 2016 and house the Group 21 winter competition team in 2017 and single-handedly filled the teams, found coaches, managers, trainers and signed them up for the correct courses. Fast-forward to 2019 and two of these teams are at the top of their respective competitions and Bianca is looking to add an Under-18’s Women’s Tackle team next season.  Girls at the Muswellbrook club have started to participate in Rugby League earlier because Bianca has started women’s tackle teams and they will have an avenue to continue playing. From Monday to Thursday Bianca is at every training session for her girl’s teams, attends League Tag games on Friday night and tackle games on Saturdays.


East Coast Region – Kerry Lee (Group 1 Junior Rugby League)

Kerry has always been involved with local junior sporting organisations before taking on the role of Secretary with Lower Clarence JRL, one which she held for five years. Kerry has since progressed to assisting Group 1 JRL over the last two seasons as the Group 1 JRL Secretary and has also been their appointed delegate on the East Coast Regional Committee. Kerry has been very proactive with supporting Regional initiatives involving Junior League and supporting the correct values that define what’s good about junior Rugby League in the Northern Rivers area.


Newcastle / Central Coast – Nunzia Galloway (Maitland and District Junior Rugby League Association)

Nunzia is the current Director of Maitland & District JRLA and in 2018 she was awarded with Life Membership of the MDJRLA for her outstanding efforts over a 10-year period, having been a hard-working and dedicated member for just over 11 years today. Nunzia originally became involved when her two sons played Rugby League but has continued her work long after they stopped playing and is now an integral member of the MDJRLA. Nunzia has held various positions including Secretary, Registrar, Team Manager, League Safe and her current roles include Social Media Organiser and Representative and Development Program Coordinator.


Western Region – Sue Egan (Western Region, Group 11, Dubbo and District Junior Rugby League)

Sue Egan has been involved in Rugby League as an administrator in various capacities for 15 years and her current roles include Team Manager of Western Rams Women’s Tackle and League Tag, Level 1 Sports Trainer, Secretary of three separate junior Rugby League clubs and Secretary of Dubbo Macquarie Seniors. Sue took a lead role in implementing an accessible format for junior girls to participate in DDJRL League Tag, enabling consistent growth in the past two years. Since 2015, female participation in Group 11 Junior Rugby League has grown from 198 players to 652 players. In 2018, Sue was elected the inaugural president of the Dubbo Goannas Women and Girls Rugby League Club. The newly-formed Club has played a critical role in developing tackle pathways for women and girls in the northern district of Group 11, attracting participants from Wellington, Dubbo, Narromine and Nyngan.


Greater Southern Region – Alysha Janssen (Berkeley Eagles)

In her amazing dedication to Women’s Rugby League, Alysha Janssen is currently the Coach of the Berkeley Eagles RLFC Women’s Opens and Under-18’s sides and has been involved with the club as a player and a coach for the last ten years. In 2017, Alysha was successful in getting both teams a Grand Final berth. Alysha is also the Coach of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Tarsha Gale team and Coach of the Under-16’s Women’s Development Squad. Because of all her coaching commitments, it is not uncommon for Alysha to be at a training session, game or function six days a week, and even running water for a Women’s team on game day. During the most recent off season, Alysha ran free ‘Come and Try’ Rugby League Coaching clinics at Berkeley. This alone saw the club’s women’s participation numbers grow by 18 players. Alysha also developed and presented a Coaches Education Course to all of Berkeley’s junior coaches at the start of the season.


Bidgee Region – Barbara Pfeiffer (Valley Dragons Junior Rugby League)

Barbara has been involved with Rugby League for over 30 years and is a Life Member of the Valley Dragons. She is currently the First Aid Coordinator, Score Recorder and Head Trainer at Valley Dragons Juniors, making herself available every Sunday at their home ground. Barbara not only volunteers time at her club, but assists at the Junior Canberra Region Rugby League Finals to ensure injuries are being assessed correctly and helps at numerous school carnivals and Raiders School Holiday Clinics held in Canberra. She is also a senior driver in the new Trainers and First Aid cohort that the CRRL has formed and has been instrumental in the development and maintenance of the Valley Dragons women’s team that includes her daughter Mel.