Over the past month there has been a band of young girls and boys running around Aub Ferris Oval, Nabiac each Monday, learning to play rugby union under the guidance of coaches, Lee Sullivan, Daniel Sawyer and Jim Wilson.
The coaches have been preparing the players for the upcoming Coffs challenge, held in Coffs Harbour during the first week of the school holidays.
Sides from all over the State will travel to the coastal town, with the focus on having a great time and playing in a fun-filled environment.
“It is exciting for the Lower Mid North Coast rugby community,” Lee Sullivan said.
“To have so many young, enthusiastic players wanting to play tells me there there is an opportunity to have a junior competition in 2019.”
Through the direction of Mid North Coast Rugby Union and the LMNC Council of Clubs, a steering committee was established to develop a strategic plan to look at the possibility of running juniors competition in 2019.
The committee engaged expert advice from NSW Country Rugby Union executive officer, Stephen O’Brien and North Coast Waratahs development officer, Tom Davidson an annual plan was developed.
A part of this plan was to enter teams in under 10 and under 12 Coffs Challenge in 2018.
So, from this, a commitment was made to develop a juniors.
Using the central location of Nabiac allowed for the bringing together of players from around the region, and over the last month more than 30 players have attended the sessions.
Players have been put through their paces with the skill level improving each week.
There will be two teams entered a tens and twelves which will take part in the ten a side competition.
“The zone has been so supportive and it just tells me there enough interest to establish a competition in 2019,” Lee said.
“Over the years there has been a call to establish such a competition, but for a variety of reasons it has not eventuated, now we have a real opportunity.”
With the growth of the women’s game and now the prospect of juniors, rugby union in the region is on the move in a positive way.
Added to this, the employment of the Waratahs first female development officer in the region, Kirsty Schumaker has been a real commitment from all the stakeholders.
To support the rugby community in its focus on junior sport there will be a coaching resource session run at Nabiac by Waratahs North Coast’s Tom Davidson and Kirsty Schumaker on July 16 from 5.30pm for all coaches.