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Club in running for award after overcoming disasters

Rockhampton Tigers’ Heath Lambert. The club battled through 2015 but are finalists for the NRL Grassroots Award.
Rockhampton Tigers’ Heath Lambert. The club battled through 2015 but are finalists for the NRL Grassroots Award. Paul Braven

IF THERE is one rugby league club that has learned to roll with the punches, it's the Rockhampton Tigers.

The junior rugby league club has overcome the devastating impact of flood, fire and a cyclone to ensure their young members can still play the game they love.

Their resilience has seen them named as a finalist for Grassroots Club of the Year, as part of the annual NRL Community and Player Education Awards.

The award will go to the club that has developed participation and enjoyment at all levels of rugby league, has shown innovation in administration and has become an integral part of their community.

President Steve Barron is thrilled that the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in the rebuilding of the club has been recognised.

"I am so very proud," he said yesterday.

"It's a whole team effort. They've all gone beyond the call of duty.

"It's been inspiring how everyone has rallied together, within the club and the community, in response to the hard knocks we've had.

"At the end of the day, our kids are playing footy and that's what it's all about."

Steve said the Tigers' clubhouse was inundated in the 2011 floods.

Just months later, with repairs well underway, vandals broke in and set fire to the clubhouse, which was then condemned.

The builders the club enlisted to rebuild went into receivership.

Determined not to be beaten, the club rallied and with the support of the business community, got a new clubhouse last year.

But come February Cyclone Marcia unleashed her fury, sending a huge tree crashing across the side of the clubhouse and blowing away the club's toilet block.

But again the Tigers rallied and this season fielded teams from under-6 through to under-13.

And Steve said that was the ultimate reward, although the $5000 cash prize for the NRL Grassroots Award would be a welcome boost.

"The most satisfying thing is seeing the kids coming off the field with a big smile on their face and that sense of achievement," he said.

"They just love playing the game.

"It's not about winning or losing, it's how you play the game.

"The bonds that they will form through rugby league will be bonds for life."]

The awards will be held at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney on Friday, October 2, and will be live streamed online via www.nrl.com.au/communityawards.

IN THE RUNNING

The finalists for Grassroots Club of the Year, presented by Telstra:

  • Bargo Bunnies, Bargo, Country Rugby League
  • Rockhampton Tigers, Red Hill, Queensland Rugby League
  • Campbelltown City Kangaroos, Campbelltown, New South Wales Rugby League
  • Ellenbrook Rabbitohs, Ellenbrook, Western Australian Rugby League

Topics:  junior sport natural disaster rugby league


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