RugbyWA announces major sponsor for Men’s and Women’s Perth Gold representative teams

Fri, Apr 28, 2023, 3:02 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media
Airland Logistics partners with RugbyWA
Airland Logistics partners with RugbyWA

RugbyWA announces major sponsor for Men’s and Women’s Perth Gold representative teams

RugbyWA will take a big step into the representative arena when a Women's Perth Gold side join the Men in the Australian Rugby Shield tournament for the first time.

 International freight forwarding and project logistics solutions company Airland Logistics is front of jumper sponsor for both teams for the 2023 tournament which will take place at Queensland Rugby Union's Ballymore in September and while the women's format will be decided when nominations have been finalised, it is expected to be similar to the men's with two pools of four.

 Managing director Tony Berson is heavily involved in rugby as a former Western Force sponsor and a major sponsor of Palmyra where he is coach of the women's side.

 "It was Alex (Stajka) that got me onto it," Berson said.

 "He was my mentor when I did my level three coaching and he hit me up with the idea”

 "My company is engaged in supporting community groups and provide support in that space. It's a first for women's rugby and I'm a great believer in the development of the women's game”

 The top two from each pool play-off for the trophy and the second-placed sides for third overall.

 "Being in the tournament is awesome, It's the missing part of the jigsaw in the women's pathways” RugbyWA female game and inclusions lead Gemma Owens said

 "Young girls can test their potential with a view to being scouted by the Force or they can represent the state if they are feeling comfortable at this level”

 "Everything this year has come together and there is a clear pathway."

 Perth Gold men, who finished third last year, are expected to face NSW Country, Tasmania and SA in their pool games.

 UWA coach Alex Stajka, in his fourth year in charge of the WA side, has put together a selection committee of local Premier Grade coaches and members who are not attached to any club to give an independent view.

 He will announce a training squad of about 45 at the start of August with three sessions and hopefully a trial game against a Western Force senior side or under-19 squad.

 Stajka expects to take a squad of 25 with an 11 backs-24 forwards split and will add an extra back if they can increase the squad size.

 "It's a real arduous tour," Stajka said.

 "It's a brutal schedule - game day, day off, two consecutive game days with a day off before the final game.

 "We need to take guys that are tough as well as good footy players. It's no good us having players that will be great for one game and then done for the rest of the tour.”

"There needs to be some flexibility. The more flexible they are the more attractive they are in terms of the squad set-up”

 "We'll have three weeks together post the regular season but we'll start with some knowledge install before the end of the season."

 Stajka's coaching team will rely heavily on the experience of previous tournaments.

 "Until you get there and everyone has played their first game you don't have any insight to the opposition," he said.

 New RugbyWA chief executive Simon Taylor said: "The introduction of our women into the competition is exciting, and a fantastic step on the development pathway.

"It is a great to be able to continue to create opportunities for women to play our game in our state and they can go onto further representative honours.”