Toowoomba juniors reflect on season

At the recent Annual General Meeting for the Toowoomba Junior Rugby League, the league celebrated the achievements of their 2016 season.

The TJRL were proud of their retention rates and performed well in that area, with achieving a player retention rate of 71%.

“This is due in no small part to the hard work from all our member clubs,” returning TJRL President Dan Aldons said.

This year, the final series was a great success with congratulations extended to all the premiership winners and to Dalby who the 2016 Club Champions.

Overall, it was pleasing to see every club managed to qualify teams in the semi-finals.

It is evident there has been improvement across the board in the skill levels and competitiveness of players.

A huge thank you must go to the coaches and managers of all teams for the time and effort they have put in this season.

The TJRL Rep Coordinator Darren Wilson and all his assistants must be applauded for their efforts in managing the representative programs this year, with Toowoomba players dominating the representative sides, including winning the Under 13 and Under 16 age groups at the State Carnival.

Last season was also a year in which the TJRL established new competitions and player pathways. 

The establishment of girls rugby league teams by Jackie Stephson has proved to be hugely popular, with player numbers and interest steadily increasing. 

The TJRL envisages this will only increase in 2017 when teams start playing Brisbane sides that offer more regular game time and competition. 

The TJRL also started the Jack Gleeson Cup in conjunction with South Burnett, Warwick and Western Downs. 

The purpose of this competition was to provide those areas with increased footballing opportunities, and to give second-tier representative players more game time to assist in their preparation and graduation to higher representative honours.

On both counts this competition proved to be a success, with the concept receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants and member Leagues.

At its AGM, the TJRL elected its committee for 2017.

Returning President Aldons said the composition of both a new and existing team reflects on the leagues current priorities and focus for 2017.

Dan Aldons was returned as President, while after five years’ service to the Valleys Junior Rugby League Committee, Vicki Thompson will join the TJRL as Secretary.

Belinda Fowler will return as the Leagues’ Treasurer, and Wyatt Cook-Revell as its Publicity Officer.

Brad Steer and Mark Pomfrett will return on the TJRL Games Committee, with the position of Games Committee Chair still vacant.

The TJRL would like to thank Jackie Stephson for her years of service to the League.

During the past years, Stephson has invested a huge amount of time and effort into the promotion and management of junior rugby league in the Darling Downs region, often making sacrifices to both time with her family and financially to ensure that the children of this region can play the greatest game of all. 

“Her departure will leave a very big hole in our organisation and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work she has done and on behalf of the entire League thank her for her outstanding dedication and commitment to the game over many years,” President Aldons said.

Stephson was subsequently nominated and accepted as a Life Membership of the Toowoomba Junior Rugby League.

It has been particularly inspiring to see that when club members have been affected by tragedy or personal difficulty, other members of the rugby league family have rallied around and supported them. This has been our most notable achievement this year.

In 2017, the TJRL has set itself the following goals:

1. Increase player numbers in girls rugby league
2. Increase player numbers in regular competitions
3. Maintain/increase retention rate of players
4. Increase coaching skill levels at all clubs through the new resources available from the NRL Game Development Officers – PlayNRL Coaching Resources

The Toowoomba Junior Rugby League would like to thank everyone for their efforts and assistance in 2016, and extend an invitation to all supporters, families and friends to join up again this year and stay involved for what will be another exciting season of junior rugby league.