25th October 2018: Northern Territory Rugby Union has accepted the bid from the MacKillop Saints Sporting Association to enter a new club into the Darwin Rugby Union competition for 2019.
The MacKillop Saints Rugby Football Club will field teams in the boys and girls U14, U16 and U18 age groups. Consideration of the inclusion of further age groups will be discussed in coming years on the advice of current stakeholders. Vice President Oren Tyler explained “It is in the best interest of all stakeholders involved in this process that we enter the competition incrementally, building upon a solid foundation while not rushing the process.” The Saints intend to make a positive contribution to Rugby in the Northern Territory, working with fellow clubs to the benefit of the entire Rugby community. “By initially entering the competition with just these three age groups, we can avoid a sudden shock to the system. Any future developments will only come about through thorough consultation with and agreement from our fellow clubs. Furthermore, the Saints will maintain an ongoing commitment to fielding only a single team in each age group, in the interest of maximising on-field time for players, ensuring a high standard of play, and allowing the College-based incubator programme to provide a reliable stream of new members for all clubs in the region”.
This announcement comes at the culmination of thorough, positive and productive discussions among stakeholders including Northern Territory Rugby Union, The MacKillop Saints Committee, fellow Darwin rugby clubs, MacKillop Catholic College, and other sporting interests affiliated with the school.
Tamie Needham, CEO of NT Rugby Union said “The inclusion of the MacKillop Saints into the Darwin Club competition is significant for a number of reasons. The last club to enter the competition was the University Pirates back in 1987 and MacKillop is the first to join with just junior players within a school-based model. We look forward to welcoming their players, coaches and managers into the Rugby community”.
The proposal also has the support of the wider College community, with formal approval being given by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, who are responsible for approving any entity associated with the name of Mary MacKillop, and from Bishop Emeritus of Darwin, Eugene Hurley, who has been a supportive patron of the club since its earliest iterations. “The Saints provide a wonderful opportunity for the MacKillop community to come together and support the brilliant work being accomplished within NT Rugby Union. It is well within the Australian Catholic tradition to pioneer and support Rugby within our various communities, providing meaningful pathways and positive relationships for our young people.”
The Saints have already demonstrated their commitment to the sport through their participation in the recent Palmerston Crocs Junior 7s and Hahn Superdry 7s Tournament, with further plans to support the Swampdogs’ 10’s event in late January. Furthermore, the well established MacKillop Catholic College Rugby Academy wil
l expand in 2019 focusing on Rugby Union development, exploring both overseas and interstate travel opportunities as well as engaging and developing relationships with notable GPS Schools and Queensland clubs.
President David Graham remarked, “We are both grateful and proud to be joining such a wonderfully positive and supportive Rugby Union community here in the Northern Territory. There is a superb energy and drive amongst the established clubs and the MacKillop Saints are excited and motivated to begin contributing to this fantastic culture”.
For further information please contact NT Rugby Union at firstname.lastname@example.org or MacKillop Saints at email@example.com.
Watch the full PRESS CONFERENCE HERE