Since the start of RugbyWA’s regional trips to Geraldton the area has seen a significant surge in participants forming a new rugby hub in WA.
During RugbyWA’s last visit in February local development officers visited nine schools and delivered to over 1400 kids within a week.
While in the Mid-West RugbyWA staff got a true indication of the growth of the sport with a large number of participants attending the Geraldton RugbyRoos Clinic.
Full-time development officer Alasdair Henderson was amazed with the growth seen in the region commenting that the junior players are getting a better understanding of the game each year.
“Across the last three years I have come to Geraldton it’s pretty amazing to see how many kids recognise our staff and how many now know about the game of rugby union, Henderson said.”
"This year, it was a huge positive to see the development of the kids got to a point where we were able to get them to play modified games of touch rugby ending in Touch 7s.”
Another huge development in the regional trip is the inclusion of Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation (GSAC) staff coming on board to assist in delivery of the school programs.
Members from the corporation got the opportunity to further increase their knowledge of the game while being able to up skill in rugby coaching during their time with RugbyWA, marking another huge step in building a strong rugby foundation in the mid-west and surrounding regional areas.
Joining the development officers in this year’s trip was key administration personnel including Western Force’s Director of Rugby Matt Hodgson, RugbyWA’s Participation Manager Damian Wainohu and RugbyWA’s Director of Rugby and Game Development Steve Anderson.
"Our regional program has existing relationships that we intend to nurture as part of our State footprint,” Anderson explained.
“Geraldton has an accessible catchment and captive school audience that RugbyWA will look to develop in the coming years strategically.”
“Meetings with the Mayor and GSAC will be central to on-going development in the Geraldton program."
Alongside the work done with key members of the area, key driver of the new rugby hub Tom Gorman has worked tirelessly to introduce new participants to the game from as far as Meekatharra and the Murchison River.
“It’s been great to have RugbyWA up here in Geraldton again, the staff saw around 500 more kids than their last trip in August 2020 which is an impressive result by any standard.”
“It was great to see the involvement of Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation staff during the week, where they helped the Rugby WA staff deliver the clinics.”
“This bodes well for their future involvement in rugby clinics in our region, the partnership is at early stages but has the capacity to really deliver huge results for the sport.”
“It was also very significant to see Matt Hodgson, Steve Anderson and Damian Wainohu visiting Geraldton to see things firsthand, I know that they have a much more detailed understanding of where junior rugby is heading in our region.”
The week ended with the 10 a side festival that proved again a huge success for the sport in alongside the continuation of RugbyRoos sessions.