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Share what your Rugby Club does well?

Discussion in 'Club Rugby' started by Rugby Central, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Rugby Central Charlie Fox (21)

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    I have been following G&G for a little under 12 months now. Second only to the overall love of rugby, the tribalism of club rugby is poisonous.

    On threads where people are discussing how to fix club rugby, and there's many, it seems more about protecting the club's interest and not rugby's. Some of it goes so far as to become personal sledging of each other's clubs.

    I'll support my club to the hilt and "defend thy honour" where necessary. But seriously folks if true lovers of the game on this site can't stop trying to tear each other down then what hope can we have for the self-interested at either St Leonards, Moore Park or Ballymore.

    I would be really interested to hear what people think their club (Premier, Subbies, Country or Junior) does really well, that could benefit rugby across the country. From what makes your BBQ great to how you retain players, to how to attract sponsors.

    People might feel that these are trade secrets.but they're not. Club culture will determine if a sponsor wants to be involved or how your match day is run.

    Why do this you might ask? Because it's obvious to any who read this site, the people meeting here passionately love their rugby, love their clubs, and are the ones who can make things happen.
  2. Karl Bill McLean (32)

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    Brothers Juniors just won Club of the Year up here the second year in a row. Must be doing something right - but I think its all pretty grass roots stuff. Other clubs have better fields and better facilities etc. I think in the Juniors in Brisbane, particularly the young juniors from u6 to u12, Brothers has a great culture of fair, fun and friendly competition, respects the spirit of Rugby and has a lot of parental involvement as well as a very diligent Committee who put in above and beyond the call of duty. Our Sponsor relationships are great as well. My experience with other clubs - I think GPS Ashgrove looks like a very well run club, although perhaps a little over-competitive in the Juniors, Easts are great (friendly, helpful, good supporters), ditto for Manly. There is a BIG thing at Brothers to make sure supporters ALWAYS behave appropriately, at home and away. When a few isolated parents overstepped the mark they were pulled into line real hard, but very privately. Like the exception proved the rule I think. The Annual Casino Royale themed evening is a great fundraiser and has some real momentum in terms of costumes and groups going all out. Lot of fun. A willingness for parents to hang around after training for a little while and have a drink with other parents and let the kids bond with their mates is important too I think from a cultural point of view. A lot of friendships extend outside the club.

    I think they could engage better with the local schools though and the QRU could probably be a great tour tool there. Last week of school semester, get a few Reds and Seniour Juniors to go round to the local schools and do a bit of a training session maybe - intro the club, promote the game. Ascot State School, Hendra State School, Eagle Junction, the Catholic one (;-) ) etc. Non-rugby State and Independent Junior Schools.

    Just a few thoughts.
  3. AngrySeahorse Peter Sullivan (51)

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    Good thread Rugby Central.

    My club, Newcastle Uni, isnt as well financed as the other top clubs in our comp (A few people I know seem surprised a team attached to a Uni is short financially but there you go). Still, we got club of the year this year in our comp so there's a few things I think we do well - these ideas arent original & there's quite a few more but these come to mind right now.

    "Bulk communication" - seems like a no brainer but there was a time not too long ago that we tended to use a fair bit of word-of-mouth to communicate social events, off-season training, pre-season training, AGM's, etc. It meant a lot of people didnt get informed. Email, facebook, webpages, etc have been around for a while but you'd be surprised how many clubs still dont use these tools enough. I've noticed the communication is much better since my club has been more into using them & that means more people are around for our clubs activities.

    "Community involvement" - An e.g. would be my clubs support of breast cancer a few years back when we swapped our usual maroon & white jerseys for ones with pink (womens wore pink & white for the whole season, mens wore pink & maroon for one round then auctioned them off, all proceeds to breast cancer). We raised over $10000 & had our efforts reported in the Newcastle Herald, the womens team got an article on its own also which is pretty rare. So it was a great thing to do for the community but also for promoting the club to potential players/supporters & what we want to be about as a club. There are occasions where clubs do charity work more as a PR stunt, IMO, however I think this is more common in professional sport & its a bit different to local sports people who hold jobs &/or study - I put it in a very different category. For mine pro sports need to be careful when they time their charity efforts (where possible of course, for eg you couldnt time the QLD floods) or people can pick up on whether the motivation is more towards a PR activitity than a genuine act of charity.

    "Inclusiveness" - All teams, male & female, all grades, all age groups (& if no age groups like mine at Uni then try to recruit to gain an underage team, which my club is trying to do + reach out to schoolgirl players, etc), supporters, staff/volunteers, etc. Once again seems simple but leave any particular group out & you'll create division in a club that isnt going to help club harmony. One eg. we announce male & female rep players in front of the entire club at the beginning of the year or as they occur, male & female club trophy presentation is done at the same event - not separate. We also maintain ties to old boys/girls & have the past accomplishments of these former players known to current & newer players. Once again, painfully simple & I know lots of clubs already do this but very effective in promoting common purpose at the club & sense of belonging to something worthwhile.

    "Rivalries" - I agree that tribalism goes too far at times, we have a bit of that going on where I'm from too, but in regards to rivalries though I think they are a good thing & should be promoted. Lets face it when you've got two clubs that really dont like each other the stakes are higher, victory is sweeter & defeat is even harder than it normally would be. These kinds of highs & lows are something I love about Rugby & it adds to the comp plus fuels a lot of players to train harder which will improve them & their exisiting comp if many people are doing the same thing. It has been talked about in Newcastle about the prospect of having a round where only x2 clubs play, which sounds to me like a rivalry round or something similar.

    So certainly not rocket science but from a country perspective these things I find are some of the very important parts of Rugby.
  4. spooony Ron Walden (29)

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    Club rugby here is basically one above U/19 school boy rugby. In the old days the big names use to play club rugby regularly as rugby was still a amateur sport and they were in the Universities and such. It use to be the feeding ground for talent. But the Provinces or the franchises as its now called basically scout schools and the under 21s as they each got a u/21 side playing in a u/21 league. The schools especially the Agriculture schools and big schools with the famous traditions and the money sponsoring boards at the school rugby field in turn scout smaller schools for talent and then off them school bursaries. Free education at a top school. Who would say no. Thats why they end up on the TV in documentaries bragging about their players that made it big. In reality they basically buy the players. And its still going on to this day.
  5. blindsider Billy Sheehan (19)

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    so funny that theres only 4 posts in this thread..
    I know my club could improve in communication, marketing, recruiting, money management, people management, the list goes on forever
  6. Karl Bill McLean (32)

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    So what do they do WELL?
  7. blindsider Billy Sheehan (19)

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    play rugby, thats about it
  8. Tahboy Banned

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    Who is your club blindsider? They sound like a rabble
  9. Eggsie Stan Wickham (3)

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    Despite being a young club, our club (Albany Creek Brumbies) does a number of things particularly well - and like all clubs we could improve in others. On the field, our boys (and girls) enjoy the sport immensely. Our numbers are swelling. Our board are dedicated (not to themselves!) and our volunteers tireless. We are even experiencing some success in each age group and division, and are lucky enough to have a few players selected for representative honours. We do however suffer a bit of the blinkered myopia that seems to dog all clubs of any code I have been involved in. We need to ensure that we realise that the real competition here is not between teams; nor is it between clubs. The competition on the field may be fierce between region, district state and nation - however the real competition is the one where we need to win the hearts and minds of kids and parents who would retreat to the 'safety' of soccer, the 'manliness' (spare me) of rugby league or the (god knows what - Capperism?) of AFL. Clubs and school competitions (GPS, TAS and AIC) need to work in concert to ensure that the young players that they are entrusted with are given the best opportunity to develop their talents within RUGBY not the dogma of their own idiom. (I still believe that the whole GPS, TAS, AIC hierarchy should be moved to a multi-tiered competition where teams are promoted/relegated dependent upon their performance at trials/previous season). I think that totals two bob, any one want this soap box?
    suckerforred and AngrySeahorse like this.
  10. Cat_A Arch Winning (36)

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    Eggsie- are the Albany Creek Brumbies you are a part of associated with GPS?

    I ask because we had a fantastic experience in trials there in early 2011. The club hosted all 7 teams (squads) from both Uni and GPS, did a bang-up job of running the BBQ (amazing burgers!) and the canteen etc. and it was SO ORGANISED and everyone was SO HELPFUL! (Sorry for shouting, but I believe that every senior club would be better if Juniors parents were involved)

    I know that a huge number of juniors play there every weekend or two (and training on Friday nights) and there are large numbers passing through the canteen. But what impressed me the most was that the organisers of the day were able to cater to a completely different market. In many instances Juniors will arrive for their game, then they have to leave to get somewhere else- there's not a big segment who stay around to sit on the bench to watch the next game. In senior footy, most players will hang around to watch the next game/bench, almost all will grab a burger and a drink (likely more than one of each) and some will stay until the end of the final game. And in juniors, the canteen gets a workout from the kids, and the BBQ is largely the adult domain.

    Albany Creek were able to cater a BBQ and canteen for 14 squads of 25-30 players in each, plus support staff, plus family, girlfriends, partners etc. I sincerely hope the club made a shitload of money- I know that juniors will spend very wisely!
  11. Rob42 Ron Walden (29)

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    The juniors club I'm involved with ran a "Come n Try" session early Feb last year, at rego time, and it was very successful, especially amongst the youngest age groups, leading to a big increase in the number of those teams for that season. It's a simple formula - widely advertised in the local schools, word of mouth, etc, free 1 hour event on a Friday night. The kids love the run around, aand the mums get to see that their little 6-year-old isn't going to get flattened playing rugby. The "two-handed touch" game for that age group is really a very good way to get them into the game.
  12. barbarian Michael Lynagh (62)

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    After refereeing for a few seasons, the last two years I have really gotten back into playing subbies footy. Now I am on the committee of my club, Kings Old Boys in Sydney. I did not go to Kings myself, and was initially brought in due to the proximity of the training ground to my house. Now I have made too many friends to leave.

    But the club is in a bit of a crisis at the moment, and I would be interested to see if people had any ideas or thoughts on our predicament.

    Last season our playing numbers dwindled to well below where they should be. We have to provide four grade sides and one colts side each week, but by the end of the season we probably had about 30-40 blokes rocking up for grade (colts were fine and is generally our strength). That meant most blokes had to play two games, and some positions had to play more (front rowers). As a result, we lost a fair few games in all grades (which further hampered our numbers as disheartened guys turned away) and no grade side made the finals.

    What's more our lack of numbers hurt our relationship with our sponsor pub (the Nags Head in Glebe), and it looks like we might lose that source of funds. On top of that our principal sponsor, Investec, are struggling financially and sponsorship for 2012 is on very shaky ground.

    We have other issues as well, but playing numbers is at the root of most of it. More players means more rego $$, better results, more interest from sponsors, more $$ to spend on doing fun shit that footy clubs should.

    We are also still without a head coach for 2012.

    So does anyone have any suggestions for improving playing numbers? Advertising, recruitment strategies etc?


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  13. Jets Tony Shaw (54)

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    In terms of increasing numbers it can be a challenge. Maybe following the lead of junior clubs and holding a come try day could be an option. Do a few drills, play modified games, meet people from the club, go to the sponsor pub for a couple of drinks after (show them you are trying to increase their revenue). You could even get a sponsor contact down for the day to try and drum up some business for them. Give everyone a info pack about the club, events for the year, sponsors even a fridge magnet calendar (constant reminder that they will see daily).

    Bring a mate to the club day could also work. I've do it with U16 & U17 kids in the past when trying to get a team up and running.

    Put up signs at work places. People will be more likely to join if they know someone at the club.

    If Colts are strong then surely there should be a flow onto the grades. If not find out why. Integrate the Colts with the Grade players more. Make sure all of the players are supporting each other.

    Chase down players who have left the club. Find out why they left and if they would be keen to come back.

    Make the club a place that girlfriends are welcome to. I know heaps of guys who stopped playing because their better half told them "no".

    Also think of ways to help guys pay fees. Have a sign on cost (cover insurance) and then pay a weekly amount. Paysmart are really good for weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments. If guys are really struggling then arrange a BBQ at your local Bunnings and get them to work it to cover their fees. There are other fundraising activities that they can do to to assist this as well.

    Advertise at local gym's or with PT's who may be able to direct their clients to you and you could promote them amongst your members. Ask local shops to let you put up signs in their windows or notice boards (fish and chip shops are great as customers are looking for things to read while waiting)

    In terms of a coach have you contacted the NSWRU? They might be able to help. Offer accreditation to who ever takes the role so that they see a real benefit to taking part.

    Anyway just some ideas. Hope it all goes well Barbar
  14. barbarian Michael Lynagh (62)

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    Great, thanks for that Jets. A lot of great ideas that I will definitely use. The two I like most are these:

    Just a couple of years ago we were up in 1st division and turning away players. Now we are in 2nd division and struggling. We need to work out what went wrong and try and get some blokes back.


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  15. Jets Tony Shaw (54)

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    Contacting old boys might be a good way to find a coach too. Someone who would like to stay involved, played at a good level and can't commit to playing and staying fit.
  16. suckerforred Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Is that the problem, turned people away and they still think that they are not wanted? Not being in Sydney not sure if this would work but. what about putting feelers out to other clubs. Are they turning away players who they can direct to you? The 'we don't need any more players but I know these guys are desperate', might get some more people in. This of course relys on all clubs being in it for the greater good.

    Other then that - letter box dropping a likely catchment area might help. Yeah I know more junk mail, but you will find that people who have recently moved to the area will look at their junk mail and just might be loking for something to do.
  17. Rugrat Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    I think all clubs should consider developing strategies for including sevens for males and females. our club ran a program for schoolgirls to participate in a sevens tournament and got a huge turnout that increased interest in our club and playing for us in sevens and fifteens. Great way as well to keep some players involved with the club over summer months. I think sevens played at night could be a financial return for clubs as well if they are run it like the touch football comps are run. More interest in rugby and more revenue opportunities.
  18. barbarian Michael Lynagh (62)

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    Yeah, both good ideas. At the end of the day there is no substitute for legwork, and contacting past players takes a while but will be worth it.

    As for the letter drop, one of our problems as a club is we have no real catchment area. We train in Glebe and play out at Kings at Parramatta. So we have guys from the hills, city, the east, the west. It has its good points and bad points. SO we have no real target area, which makes it hard to be targetted in recruitment.
  19. Keithy Ted Fahey (11)

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    Barbarian i know the Nags guys and they were happy to support you during 2011 after Uni did the runner. Sad to hear they might stop the cash flow. It's tough for an Old boys side that has a lot of country boarders who return to the bush after a few years in the big smoke. Have you tried to the foreign market? A few subbies clubs have been able to ride out the player drain using this market for a few years.
    Maybe get Nick Phipps on board just like Drew Mitchell is for balmain.
  20. barbarian Michael Lynagh (62)

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    Yeah hope we can convince the nags to keep us on, it is a great pub for a rugby club and we had a great time in 2011.

    The country thing hampers us, especially during uni breaks and holiday weekends. We have looked into the international thing and are considering it at the moment. It is becoming more and more common at Subbies. The question at the moment is if we have enough cash to throw around, and whether that would be better saved or spent elsewhere.

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