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NSWRL congratulates Australia Day honours recipients

A True Blue and former Country Firsts player, who now has coaching and development links with Wheelchair Rugby League, is one of three members of the NSWRL community to receive Australia Day honours today.

The NSWRL would like to congratulate those who were recognised among the 1,0452 total recipients of the 2024 awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

From that number, 503 received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) including three who have made valuable contributions to Rugby League in NSW: Steve Hewson from Bulli on the NSW south coast, Dennis Burgess from Newtown, and Arthur McCarroll from Belrose.  

Hewson played for Country Firsts in 1975 at halfback and then kept the No.7 jersey for both games for NSW Firsts against Queensland that year – scoring a try in all three matches.

Today he was awarded the OAM for services to Rugby League highlighted by his post-playing career, with roles including NSWRL Academy Coaching and Development Officer (2000-2014); Coach and Development Officer, North Coast (1990-1999); former Chair of the Disability Sports Committee (which he established); and inaugural coach of the NSW Wheelchair Rugby League team.

Hewson was coach of the Australian Wheelchair Rugby League side from 2013 and 2017, and was appointed a referee for the November 2022 Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.

He was also a Development Officer for the Canberra Raiders in the 1980s and coached their SG Ball team, as well the Queanbeyan Blues Under 17s, Under 19s, and Reserve Grade sides.

Burgess received his OAM for services to the performing arts, but he also has a strong commitment to Rugby League.

He has been Director of Western Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club since 2004, currently serving as Chair of the Club, alongside being a Director of Wests Ashfield Leagues Club since 2000.

He has served as a Director of the Wests Tigers Rugby League Club Board since 2007.

McCarroll was awarded his OAM for services to community sport – chiefly surf life saving – but has strong connections with Rugby League.

He is a former coach of the Mudgee Rugby League Football Club’s women’s team also serving as a referee and member from 1959-1962.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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