The NSWRL has today announced an exciting new blueprint for Rugby League in the Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast areas which will reinforce its reputation as one of the game’s great nurseries and set it up for further success into the future.
The plan follows a report the NSWRL commissioned last year from data and analytics group Gemba to undertake a strategic review of Rugby League competitions and pathways in the region.
The consultation process included feedback from key stakeholders including NRL clubs Newcastle Knights and Sydney Roosters, local associations, clubs, boards and referees. The focus areas included community Rugby League, major competitions, and male and female participation and pathways.
Following the report, the NSWRL board has prioritised a move towards a single governance in the Newcastle and Maitland region which will include representatives from Newcastle Rugby League, Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League and the Hunter Junior Rugby League; and a competition committee to be established to assess competition expansion across both regions.
The stakeholders in the region will play a crucial role in implementing the review and shaping the future of the game in the area. With the roadmap now identified, it is important for stakeholders to drive the plan for their benefit and for the benefit of everyone in Rugby League in the region.
“The Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast region has always been a strong nursery for Rugby League players and one of the fastest-growth areas for our game,” NSWRL Head of Football Robert Lowrie said.
“This report allows us to put mechanisms into place where we can further nurture that talent and set the region up for sustained success into the future.”
NSWRL Northern Corridor Zone Manager Dean Bosnich has been appointed Project Lead and said he was looking forward to the opportunity before him.
Bosnich will conduct an information session at a date still to be finalised with delegates and clubs from Newcastle Rugby League, Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League, Hunter Junior Rugby League, Rugby League Central Coast, and North Sydney and Manly districts.
“I look forward to consulting with key stakeholders over the next stage and I am confident the plans will be well received and supported,” Bosnich said.
“It is important we take these steps to cater for future growth and ensure the region maintains its reputation as a stronghold for Rugby League.”
The NSWRL has already taken steps to further improve Rugby League in the area after conducting a competition and boundary review in 2019/20.
One of the key recommendations that was adopted was the Central Coast and Newcastle being separated into single regions. Central Coast has now formed an overarching body known as Rugby League Central Coast which is the single source for governance and strategic direction in the region.
This model is also consistent with the model adopted by all other NSWRL Regions and ensures that all senior and junior stakeholders in the Region are represented.