Unanimous Vote on Historic Governance Change

NSW Rugby League members today (18 October) voted unanimously to approve a new constitution in a landmark move that will see Rugby League in NSW governed by one body for the first time in more than 80 years.

The decision was also supported by Country Rugby League (CRL) members who earlier voted to wind up the organisation’s operations, effective immediately.

The changes in governance will also be effective immediately from today, Friday 18 October 2019 (more than 12 months earlier than originally planned), with all existing NSWRL and CRL staff working for a single merged entity.

The merger will allow for significantly more combined resources to deliver Rugby League programs and competitions across the whole state. It will also unlock a significant investment in the game from the National Rugby League (NRL) through many new program initiatives.

The NSWRL’s new nine-member Board, finalised today, will meet for the first time on 23 October with current NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis OAM remaining at the helm.

The Board was increased from seven to nine until the 2021 AGM to help with transitioning through the merger process. In addition to the chair, it consists of four metropolitan and four regional directors, of which each area is represented by two elected directors and two specialist appointed directors.

The Board is: Dr George Peponis OAM (Chairman), William “Smiley” Johnstone (appointed), Professor Deborah Healey (appointed), Nick Politis AM (elected), Geoff Gerard (elected), Terry Brady (appointed), Doug Harrison (appointed), John Anderson (elected) and Bob Walsh (elected). Bob Millward OAM has been appointed President, replacing John Chalk AM who passed away in August.

NEW BOARD - Back row (from left): NSWRL Director John Anderson, NSWRL Director William Johnstone, NSWRL Director Terry Brady, NSWRL Director Bob Walsh. Front row (from left): NSWRL Director Nick Politis AM, NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis OAM, NSWRL Director Geoff Gerard, NSWRL Director Doug Harrison, NSWRL Director Professor Deborah Healey
NEW BOARD - Back row (from left): NSWRL Director John Anderson, NSWRL Director William Johnstone, NSWRL Director Terry Brady, NSWRL Director Bob Walsh. Front row (from left): NSWRL Director Nick Politis AM, NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis OAM, NSWRL Director Geoff Gerard, NSWRL Director Doug Harrison, NSWRL Director Professor Deborah Healey ©NSWRL

Dr Peponis said it was very exciting to be involved in such a landmark decision and commended the NRL’s leadership team of Peter Beattie, Peter V’landys, Todd Greenberg, and Jim Doyle, along with the CRL’s John Anderson and Terry Quinn for their collaboration.

“This merger between the New South Wales Rugby League and Country Rugby League has been on the agenda since the early 1990s and has been a major strategic priority of our Board since I became Chairman,” Dr Peponis said.

“I am really pleased it has been delivered for our whole state. It is the most significant governance development in the game in New South Wales for 80 years and we are really excited about what that means for the future of rugby league in this state and the opportunity a single governing body presents for everyone at all levels of the game from the city to the country.”

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg told the meeting it was a monumental day for rugby league to have one governing body with oversight of the state.

“Today is a very big day for rugby league and you should be very proud of yourselves for putting the game first," Greenberg said.

“I particularly want to call out both chairmen George Peponis (NSWRL) and John Anderson (CRL) for their selfless leadership in making this a reality.”