The Wests Tigers Macarthur District Junior Rugby League are on track to surpass last year's registration numbers, with competitions set to kick off in the region on 1 August.
After COVID-19 shut down the world, and sport was halted, the Rugby League community in South-Western Sydney, did not give up hope that Community Rugby League would be back.
In the past week the region was hit with yet another postponed season, despite the interruptions volunteers in the clubs have not stopped working, with the region seeing continued growth across all ages especially in the 13-15 year age groups.
“It has been a challenging time for the volunteers just trying to adjust, but NSWRL have really helped us giving structure and guidelines, the zoom meetings and COVID Hub have been really helpful and provided us with so much support,” said Macarthur Saints Club Secretary Belinda Prakhounheuang.
“We want to make our members a priority and we want to make them safe, you’re asking people to do something they may not feel comfortable with. The response is ‘I signed up to be a coach and I don’t want to let these kids down’.”
All Saints Liverpool, Campbelltown City, Campbelltown Collegians and Eagle Vale St Andrews have all now exceeded participation numbers compared to those of the previous year to which Club Support Officer Brian Rowe credits the outstanding work of the volunteers.
“Being a mum I think it is important to give kids an outlet to just run around, just getting out to training has been really good to socialise, Rugby League is a community sport and it is nice to catch up and check in,” Prakhounheuang said.
“We are usually nearing the end of season, this has felt like really long pre-season, it has been a long time since our children have played a game and the anticipation is there.
“We are really excited to be getting closer to kick-off even if we do only get a few games they are all ready to go.”
The volunteers in the region have also been working hard on achieving the NSWRL Blue Shield accreditation program, with six more clubs becoming accredited in 2020 - Campbelltown Collegians, East Campbelltown, Liverpool Catholic Club, Minto Cobras, Macarthur Saints and Ingleburn RSL.
The Blue Shield program recognises a club’s performance in six key areas and demonstrates the willingness and capacity to run a quality community sporting club.