The Armidale and District Junior Rugby League and the Armidale Rams RLFC have joined forces and streamlined operations for a more efficient delivery of the sport in the northern NSW city.
In a unanimous vote, the two will be branded under the one name, Armidale Rams RLFC.
They began operating as a single entity on 30 October, but will continue to have separate bank accounts for an interim period to ensure the merger satisfies both their needs. There will be a third joint account to cover day-to-day running expenses and ground maintenance.
A sub-committee has been created with a treasurer and secretary specifically for Juniors.
President of the Armidale RLFC is Jess Smith, with Kate McCulloch appointed (Juniors) Vice-President.
Smith said the merger would mean about 300 players could be registered through the one process.
“Pretty much it was driven by a lack of volunteers. It was becoming increasingly hard to get the numbers of volunteers needed to run both clubs,” she said.
“Combining the two had been spoken about in the past but agreement was never reached. But that all changed this time around and it’s a great move for not just the Rams but Rugby League in general.”
It is hoped the move allows the club to retain more players from the age groups right through to seniors, whereas in the past the junior club competition ended at 17 years.
“The benefits include having the same sponsors for Under 6s right up until A Grade. It was difficult trying to get sponsors for both clubs in a smaller environment like Armidale, compared with a capital city,” Smith said.
The two clubs share the same ground – Rugby League Park Armidale.
“It will be great to see the transition of players from Under 6s right through to the top grades,” McCulloch said.
“You’ll now have that flow through a definite pathway. The kids will now get to see more of the adults playing and hopefully that will inspire them to want to get to A grade and play in front of the home crowd.
“It gives both clubs a chance to emerge stronger by supporting each other ensuring we survive and thrive together.”