The main goal for the Nirimba Hurricanes Rugby League Club at the start of their inaugural season was for the kids to have fun.
Starting a new club from scratch is never an easy feat and 2022 has certainly been a rollercoaster for the committee behind the Sunshine Coast’s newest club.
But, as they approach their final round this Sunday, August 7, club secretary and treasurer, Samantha Arnott-Hollick, says they are really proud of what they have achieved.
With teams from the under 6s up to under 9s, Nirimba have come a long way this year and Arnott-Hollick said they reflected every single week on the progress they had made.
“We have a small committee and we definitely started the season late because it’s a new club,” Arnott-Hollick said.
“We were really trying to establish this club from the ground up. It involved a lot of time on Facebook and social media, flyers around the place, we door-knocked local businesses to gain sponsorship, visiting schools.
“In the background we were going through all the teething issues in trying to find sponsors, find coaches, players… as the season evolved we secured six great sponsorships, jerseys, kits, coaches.
“It all came together but it’s been a really interesting five months.
“Reflecting on the season, there isn't one word to sum it up but there are a few - fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, joyful, challenging and worthwhile.”
Arnott-Hollick was new to the Sunshine Coast when she first came across Nirimba Hurricanes.
She grew up on Brisbane’s northside and was around rugby league her whole life, refereeing at Banyo Devils, where her dad was also president and her brothers played. They are now life members of the club.
When she moved to the Sunshine Coast and saw the expression of interest on a Facebook community page for help with the Nirimba Hurricanes, she went straight to an information night.
As they started to look for people to fill positions at Nirimba, she put her hand up.
She said people were surprised since she does not have kids, but she was new to the area, didn’t know anyone and wanted to give back to rugby league.
“Rugby league is something I have always joined,” the 29-year-old said.
“Not knowing anyone, I just thought, ‘why not?’. I put my hand up to help.
“I originally thought I’d put my hand up to referee but it went from one extreme to another and now I’m secretary and treasurer.
“Aedin June is the president and James Inzitari is the third committee member – and the under 8s coach – and we’ve been doing this all together.
“We’ve had a lot of help from other clubs and Queensland Rugby League but we’ve had to do a lot of work.
“We had our team photo recently and it was the first time I’ve stepped back and really saw what we’ve done. We are all proud.”
The club’s final round will be played this Sunday as part of the Richie Johnston Mini Mod end of season carnival at Cooroy.
There will be 104 teams in the under 6s to under 9s age groups take part in what is an annual event on the Sunshine Coast, celebrating the life of Johnston, who was a highly-regarded referees coach and state match official and the inaugural QRL Referees’ Development Manager.
He passed away in 2017 but he once sat on the Sunshine Coast board with Les Williams who created the strategic plan to lobby Council for a club at Nirimba over a decade ago.
Nirimba have also been invited to play at half-time of the South Sydney Rabbitohs versus Warriors NRL clash at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday August 6 and Arnott-Hollick said it was adding to the end-of-season excitement.
And it is this excitement which helps Arnott-Hollick and the rest of the committee judge their number one goal.
Did the kids have fun?
“They’ve loved it,” Arnott-Hollick said.
“They come back every week so that’s a good sign. They love coming to training, it’s always a full training session and the coaches and teams have really gelled now. We hear a lot of positive feedback.
“Our goal for the start of the year was to put the kids first. Hopefully we can say we’ve ticked that box and the kids have had fun.
“On Thursday night they were all in their jerseys, running around, having a ball. They’re definitely on that end-of-season high and having fun.”