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Players from all 13 clubs that are participating in the 2013 VB NSW Cup

Image: NewellMediaGroup

Season launch remind us that the NSWRL competition deserves our full support

February 26 2013

by Jodie Newell

We were going to write a basic report about today’s season opener, but with the recent “politicised” press conference held by the federal sports minister Senator Kate Lundy and the ACC with allegations of widespread drug use in Australian sport including rugby league, we couldn't help but respond and rebuke such claims.

Rugby League in Sydney over the past few days has been in the news it seems for all the wrong reasons. To us we feel there is a culture of negativity in many media circles who seem to forget about the very nature of sport. Throw in the “witch-hunt” and media spin cycle of the ACC press conference held weeks ago in Canberra that claimed sport was rife with drug dependant footballers.

We denounce those claims and proclaim that the sports we cover be it Rugby League or AFL is full of fine, outstanding young people who are striving to become better at their trade. Folks who put their bodies on the line for their mates, experienced coaches who encourage our youth to value team camaraderie, installing a hard work ethic and keeping up the spirits of their club in difficult times.

Those values are clearly on display in the New South Rugby League competition known as the VB Cup. The 13 teams, players, coaches and staff that gathered for the launch need our support in these trying times for Australian sport.

One coach remarked to us today that young people face many challenges and that rugby league and the club environment can be an extremely positive, character building environment. Players feel valued and a sense of worth when they gain the trust and support of their fellow team mates and club staff. Many young people today claim no-one cares or they feel undervalued by society and turn to other readily available vices.

Certainly there are some who do the wrong thing, but in any human endeavour there are always going to be trouble makers and people who break the rules. There will be some who find life gets in the way of other endeavours. “Such is Life” one famous Aussie once quipped on the toughest and last day of their life. Not all of life’s problems can be solved.

Sport is a real solution and in the NSWRL rugby league world is an extremely healthy and positive solution.

At today’s launch we saw Daniel Mortimer (sporting a fine shiner) talk about how he was able to rebuild an NRL career whilst playing for the Newtown Jets in the VB Cup. His trial form on the weekend with the Sydney Roosters was solid. Another Jet who didn't speak, but walked on in the team introductions was skipper Khalid Deeb. What an outstanding leader and inspirational character. After last year’s grand final win, Khalid quietly and with no fanfare gave his 2012 premiership medal to a young disabled boy named Jack Kelly. What a huge statement about the values and inclusive nature of the rugby league environment.

All too often we hear of scandal and counter claims about the very fabric of the game, yet Khalid’s gesture that day reminded us why we love our sport as much as we do.

Then there were the coaches of the competing teams at today’s launch in the SCG members rooms. Blokes like Paul Fletcher who coaches the West Tigers. “Fletch” has the ability to inspire belief in his players and the results were clearly evident last year, with the Balmain Tigers making it into the grand final. Wayne Lambkin of the North Sydney Bears is another coach who has been able to get the best out of his players. Brett Cook of the Wenty Magpies was impressive last year in how he was able to develop a solid relationship with his team. One will never forget how he spoke to his charges after a regular season win last year. Tony Herman of the Cronulla Sharks is always seeking to develop his players towards NRL standards.

Then there are the hard working club staff such as Brett McKenna of the Wentworthville Magpies and now with the Parramatta Holden Cup youth squad, who ensure the fundamentals of club administration are seen to. Rip Taylor a former coach of the VB NSW Cup Newcastle side, now assisting and passing on his wide knowledge of the game to the new team the Wyong Roos.

You don't have people such as these , you don't a quality competition.

If we saw any serious wrong doings or illegal practices, we can assure our readers we would in no way be involved in any sporting competition that did so. Nor would devote our time to a competition that made us feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.

The VB NSW Rugby league competition is unique and deserving of the public’s support, where not only are skilled on-field endeavours to be found, but the grand tradition of Australian values such as mateship, camaraderie, and sportsmanship are clearly on display.

The VB NSW Cup, deservedly will reach a wider audience this year on Foxtel with live weekly coverage of matches where the sports loving people of Australia will be able to judge for themselves just how good a comp it is.

We say in the strongest way possible, “Damn the torpedoes!“ and support this fine, VB NSW Cup rugby league competition in 2013.

Round 1 of the VB NSW Cup begins on Saturday March 9 with the first game being between

Wentworthville Magpies and Mounties