Nick are you able to give us a bit of background on the club. You mentioned that you started in 2007, and looking at your club website you had a lot of success in the early years. Was this down to being able to attract players with a few $$$$?
Without airing all
the dirty laundry: yes, money.
The early years was payments to a few players - no harm there as the comp wasn't amateur - and a bit of dominance followed. Jeffrey Cups in 2007 and 2009 (lost 2008 final in the mud against Quins, runners-up in 2010 against St George).
Noice Cup in 2010 (runners up in 2007 and 2008, finalists in 2009). The Second Grade team that year featured some ex-Grade players who just wanted a run with the boys. So they didn't train, just turned up from Mounty County whenever they felt like it to have fun. We feted those blokes, and they wholesale fucked off after they'd drunk the beer and eaten the food.
In 2011 it was a major slump as we tried to get up to 4th Division, and of the 40 blokes who played on GF day 2010, 25 left the club in some form. The loyalty was either to the cash or their bros - not the club.
The only notable event since then was 2014 appearance in the finals in Third Grade - mainly because nobody wanted to play higher. Eliminated by Quins in the first week.
The recent fightbacks in 2015 and 2016, including some likely finals positions last year, were probably due to money. We can't prove anything, but think the First Grade Coach was paying players under the table.
Certainly, most of the onfield talent (who were directly involved in the brawl) got jobs via the coach directly, and some even turned up to the games in taxis. Draw from that what you will.
I assumed that there would be a massive demand to play rugby in your area of Sydney. With all the housing developments and the new rail line going in I would have thought that you would have had players coming out your ears
Yep. That's what I used to think, too. I think that theory is brought down by several things:
1) The lack of cultural development in the club because of the focus on success. So players out who could develop, or contribute to the social fabric of the club, felt alienated, and left.
2) That is probably more important that the fact the NSWRU can't provide any sort of profile out here - the only players that would probably be recognised at training are your Israel Folaus and Will Skeltons. And when I asked for them via the portal, I didn't even get a reply.
3) Shitloads of league in the area for good players.
4) The schools who produce rugby players generally have an alignment already. I've contacted a few places like William Clarke College and Rouse Hill Anglican (who have no rugby program but would like one), and have received zero in return. Not even a "thanks but no thanks"
5) Distinct lack of available bodies to volunteer - particularly as we have no history, we have no old boys. Generally speaking, older people can't afford to live in the area or are simply better off moving away. The few guys I'd like to have volunteering want to play, and NEED to play due to our shortfall in numbers.
6) Saturday work hours kill off a lot of interest, particularly away games.
7) General demographic is young families so guys who might otherwise be interested, can't afford to get injured.
8) For the South African audience I've tried to target, I reckon I'm between generations - either guys in their 40s who are too old, or guys in their teens who are too young, for now. Maybe that will change.
and the council on your side. I know what they say about assuming......
Hills Council give precisely zero fucks about anyone - unless they've got a shit-ton of cash. When I tell some other teams we have to buy our own goal posts, or mark our own ground (or pay Council for the privilege) they're gobsmacked. Others are sympathetic, having been there.
I may have mentioned we share our ground with soccer - Kellyville United FC started in October 2015 and have ~800 paid up members at this point. Around ?10? senior teams and then juniors. They pay something like $350 or $390 each per annum.
How do I go to Council and demand something better for rugby when I've got 60 guys signed up (around 30 guys paid up) and soccer are collecting a quarter million in registration fees alone?
Next year I'll be saving some money only having one training night (not a fucking Wednesday either, because fucking state of origin is adored by these people for reasons I don't understand), and probably only one game per week.
So Council will be giving even more time to soccer to fuck up my pitch.