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  • JACK HISLOP, NT News

MacKillop has been admitted into the NTRU


MacKillop Saints’ admission into Darwin Rugby came after extensive consultation with existing clubs, says NTRU CEO Tamie Needham.

The Palmerston-based entity was officially unveiled as NTRU’s newest club yesterday, almost eight months after NRL NT blocked its rugby league expansion bid.

Needham said Saints’ inclusion into junior competitions was certified only after rugby union’s six established clubs stamped their approvals.

“There was at least six months of consultation,” Needham said.

“MacKillop made a presentation to the Darwin-based clubs.

“Then the clubs had an opportunity to understand the direction that MacKillop wanted to take.

“They were then able to pose questions back.

“(MacKillop president) David Graham replied to those questions and we have come up with a formula where they will be welcomed into the competition.”

Graham admitted some clubs had initial concerns, but came on board after extensive communication.

“They were very supportive … the dialogue was how can we alleviate those concerns — not anything else,” Graham said.

“I’d say from the earliest point, they were excited about what we could bring.

“We had a meeting where everyone was invited, we had an hour-long Q&A session.

“I’d like to think we have included them in the process, but this is just the start.

“We have now made it in and the real goal is that the dialogue continues and the rest of the clubs help each other exist.”

MacKillop’s plan is to eventually enter teams into senior competitions, but Needham said that wouldn’t be done without the rubber stamps of the NTRU board and clubs.

“(Entering senior teams) will depend on MacKillop and how they go,” Needham said.

“They will let us know when they think they are ready to enter into senior competitions. They have already entered teams in the SuperDry sevens, ”

Saints plan to field teams in the boys’ and girls’ under-14, under-16 and under-18 age groups. Needham said it would boost NTRU’s junior numbers by up to 100. The club will continue to play in rugby league school competitions into the future.

Photo: MacKillop Saints join NTRU as new club MacKillop. President: David Graham and NTRU CEO: Tamie Needham.


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