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Thread: West Harbour in danger of going under?

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    West Harbour in danger of going under?

    You can't make this up can you?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-1...?section=sport

    West Harbour, one of Australia's oldest clubs, on brink of collapse as funding cuts hit club rugby
    By Patrick Galloway
    Posted about 10 hours ago

    Siobhan Seiuli knew she had to get the word out.

    The new President of West Harbour Rugby Club sat down and put together a 1,000-word, warts-and-all outline of the club's dire financial position.

    After pulling together the end-of-financial-year numbers, the bare facts she had to communicate were stark.

    One of Australia's oldest rugby clubs, with origins dating back to 1900, was close to going under.

    West Harbour rugby club in action during 2018 Shute Shield
    PHOTO: West Harbour struggle to raise income from gate receipts, even during Shute Shield matches. (JB Photography)
    Her club is a stand out symptom of rugby's wider problem at grassroots level. Gone are the days of funding being heartily channelled back into the sport's feeder clubs.

    Two years ago, over $100,000 a year came from headquarters. In 2018, it has all dried up.

    "It was critical that we were transparent with the members because if people weren't aware of the problem then it can't be fixed," said Ms Seiuli.

    "The reality is, if we cannot raise an additional $200,000 at least in 2019, West Harbour simply cannot remain in the premiership competition."

    The email Ms Seiuli reluctantly wrote was a desperate plea to the rugby community around Sydney's inner-west.

    On top of the club's $23,000 annual participation levy, player and coaching wages and paltry gate takings of around $30,000 last season crippled the balance sheet of the once-proud Sydney club.

    A club on the brink of extinction
    Those who care deeply about West Harbour, many of whom are not paid at all, are concerned.

    Dianne Debreczeni is a volunteer at the club and has been involved at West Harbour for over 30 years, doing everything from canteen work to cleaning change rooms and running water for players.

    "The landscape has changed in the last couple of years, where the numbers have just dropped off," she said.

    The earliest photo on record of West Harbour Rugby Club in action, playing a Sydney University team more than a century ago.
    PHOTO: The earliest photo on record of West Harbour Rugby Club in action, playing a Sydney University team over a century ago. (Supplied)
    A dilution of player talent in the junior ranks, she said, with other codes including the AFL competing harder than ever in Sydney's west, was having an impact on playing numbers.

    "Our Colts numbers the last two years haven't been as healthy, and this year the juniors had no Under 17s and Under 16s, so there is nobody coming through next year into Colts," she said.

    "They need older boys in the Colts age group to guide them through and have that healthy competition, and if it's not there, [the structure] just falls apart a little bit."

    A proud history but uncertain future
    This past month, while lobbying for local corporate support, Ms Seiuli approached the New South Wales Rugby Union for help to keep the club alive.

    Ms Seiuli said she believed assistance in player recruitment could help drive attendance, stabilising the club's finances while she tries to work on a new model for survival.

    "I would like to see support for a few new Waratahs signings, which would be helpful in attracting the local community," she said.

    "We just have to ensure we are getting the right people involved in our club."

    An ambitious stadium proposal for Concord advertised in a 1987 edition of Sydney's Daily telegraph newspaper.
    PHOTO: An advert in a 1987 edition of The Daily Telegraph speaks of premiership rugby's more ambitious recent past.
    Former Wallaby Stephen James played for West Harbour in its heyday and agreed it would be a sad day for rugby if the club that also became known as Wests had to fold.

    "It is imperative rugby has a face in the western suburbs," he said.

    "Back probably 15 years ago, 60 per cent of players representing Australia came from this area."

    Like many local residents in the seventies, James started his career as a junior and rose through the ranks to be part of one of the most competitive West Harbour teams ever produced.

    James said the club had always been one that had punched above its weight.

    "We made it through to the semi-finals a couple of times, in '84 and '87, so we always had a competitive side," he said.

    "Rugby was very different then. It was certainly dominated by two clubs, Randwick and Gordon, where most of the representative players played, but Wests Harbour was a competitive club.

    "It was very tribal. You played where you went to school, where you lived, where your mates were.

    "And you tended to stay with one rugby club for the duration of that time."

    A symptom of rugby's decline
    West Harbour is not the only old club in Sydney coming to terms with modern-day sporting reality, where rugby is struggling to maintain its place in the pecking order.

    In April, Sydney Rugby Union announced the Penrith Emus were being removed from the 2019 Shute Shield because of a number of problems, including issues in relation to player welfare.

    West Harbour President Siobhan Seiuli poses with players from the embattled rugby union club
    PHOTO: West Harbour President Siobhan Seiuli is battling to save the club for its players, supporters and the wider community. (Supplied: West Harbour Media)
    Running on a shoestring budget, some Penrith players were playing multiple games for various grades and it regularly was on the wrong end of embarrassing scorelines.

    Ms Seiuli, admired by many for her conviction and fresh approach, was determined not to let West Harbour follow suit.

    "We understand we are in trouble and we appreciate any support they give us, but we are not going to sit back and expect anyone to solve our problems for us," she said.

    "We have spoken about the fact that the funding hasn't been forthcoming for a number of years now and whilst it would be great if we had that, we need to understand that we have to help ourselves.

    "We have to understand that the current environment is about family, it is about community and unless we engage our community, then we are going to struggle for a long time.

    "To be fair, I think over the last year we have just been trying to survive."

    A need to reach out to a new generation
    Ms Seiuli said the club needed a new business model and a cash injection of $200,000 that must be used wisely if it was going to have any hope of operating into the foreseeable future.

    Ms Debreczeni's message to those running the game was to think outside the box when it came to supporting the club.

    "Even just having Super Rugby players or Wallabies come out to the clubs, especially the ones out west," she said.

    "You see it with the AFL and the league and we always hear about it, that they are always out in the greater western area with the schools. It is something that needs to be injected that involvement with the younger kids to entice them to come and play rugby union."

    Former NRL star Lote Tuqiri turned out for West Harbour as he transitioned to a successful career in rugby union.
    PHOTO: NRL and Wallabies star Lote Tuqiri turned out for West Harbour in more successful times at the start of the century. (Supplied: West Harbour Media)
    Ms Debreczeni said she was not sure what she would do if West Harbour did not exist.

    "It is something that I have an immense love for," she said.

    "I love what rugby brings, and watching players thrive and training and playing and what they get out of it as well.

    "It is the family aspect, the community aspect. It is where we have made our closest friends. Having something in common, that we all love rugby and we just get along with each other."

    Rugby's ongoing battle for hearts and minds
    Right now, West Harbour needs funding to stay in the Shute Shield and immediate support from the community, but the club's sustainability will be tied to rugby's greater battle for relevance.

    West Harbour Rugby Club president Siobhan Seiuli and long time volunteer Dianne Debreczeni are fighting for the club's survival.
    PHOTO: Club President Siobhan Seiuli and volunteer Dianne Debreczeni are fighting for the club's survival. (Supplied)
    So far the signs suggest it is not a priority.

    In 2016 the Sydney Rugby Union, who run the Shute Shield, announced North Sydney Oval as the new home of the annual Grand Final, taking it from Concord Oval along with all-important gate revenue for West Harbour.

    Attendances have been strong and have helped create a strong message that the Shute Shield is still viable.

    Yet clubs like West Harbour are withering on the vine.

    In response to criticism that Rugby Australian is ignoring clubs' concerns, CEO Raelene Castle this week claimed any surplus funds would be re-invested into grassroots rugby, in a planned and structured way but only when they become available.

    Ms Seiuli admitted there was a lot of work to be done by many different groups of people for rugby to maintain its presence outside of its traditional heartland, in Sydney's north shore.

    "It is a challenge," she said.

    "The only reason I am doing this is because I want to see success at the club. I understand the importance of our existence from a community perspective.

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    'I may be a Senator but I am not stupid'


    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Champion SPaRTAN's Avatar
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    The bad just keeps on getting worse, and with Clyne steering the ship the end game is the titanic disaster.

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    But still this surreal delusion that it is somehow Castle's and RA's problem. If that is the case, eliminate both the SRU and NSWRU organisations and put all the money wherever it needs to go. Otherwise, it is their competition, their city, their state and their problem to solve.

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    It is the RA's problem it has been known for a long time that the RA has been doing a lot of the NSWRU's development work. District clubs oversee development in their area. If West Harbour go under that is another part of Sydney that won't be covered. Concord Oval will be without a tenant and the RA bailed out the NSWRU over their mismanagement of that place.

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    'I may be a Senator but I am not stupid'


    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    It is the RA's problem it has been known for a long time that the RA has been doing a lot of the NSWRU's development work. District clubs oversee development in their area. If West Harbour go under that is another part of Sydney that won't be covered. Concord Oval will be without a tenant and the RA bailed out the NSWRU over their mismanagement of that place.
    Bakkies is West Harbour regarded as Western Sydney? Ie to be a feeder club for WSR in Western Sydney.

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    These days it is inner west (Penrith is now regarded part of Sydney). They were a part of the original Western Sydney Rams and were removed when it was taken over by Eastwood.

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    'I may be a Senator but I am not stupid'


    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    It is the RA's problem it has been known for a long time that the RA has been doing a lot of the NSWRU's development work. District clubs oversee development in their area. If West Harbour go under that is another part of Sydney that won't be covered. Concord Oval will be without a tenant and the RA bailed out the NSWRU over their mismanagement of that place.
    Ok, I'm normally pretty open when you say stuff Bakkies I reckon you sound like you're in the know, but I don't like this one at all.

    Doesn't West Harbour receive exactly the same nothing from RA as everybody else? How exactly is this RA's problem (in isolation from the fact that Neddies, Paly, Cavaliers and a whole bunch of clubs around the country could do witha dollar in their pocket as well)

    Surely the distribution of funds in a region is the responsibility of the administration of that region.

    NSWRU either gets nothing from RA or gets a motza and spends it all on the Tahs.
    SRU either gets nothing from NSWRU or spends it all on Uni

    It is nothing other than a clear indication that the East coast bias in Rugby is accurate and doesn't seem to extend beyond 10Km from the coast.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Ok, I'm normally pretty open when you say stuff Bakkies I reckon you sound like you're in the know, but I don't like this one at all.

    Doesn't West Harbour receive exactly the same nothing from RA as everybody else? How exactly is this RA's problem (in isolation from the fact that Neddies, Paly, Cavaliers and a whole bunch of clubs around the country could do witha dollar in their pocket as well)

    Surely the distribution of funds in a region is the responsibility of the administration of that region.

    NSWRU either gets nothing from RA or gets a motza and spends it all on the Tahs.
    SRU either gets nothing from NSWRU or spends it all on Uni

    It is nothing other than a clear indication that the East coast bias in Rugby is accurate and doesn't seem to extend beyond 10Km from the coast.
    The sweet fa money which the NSWRU and other unions get from the RA for community Rugby is separate to the money allocated to them for Super Rugby. That is distributed as the state union sees fit.

    When you are doing the development work for the state union it becomes your business. It is very hard to deliver without a district club.

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    'I may be a Senator but I am not stupid'


    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    All these Sydney clubs teetering on the edge, in the self-proclaimed rugby heartland of Australia! Must be a bit embarrassing for the RA and NSW as they host the boys at the World Rugby meeting. And then having a white knight from WA riding to the rescue, after he and Force fans have been whispering in the ears of the World Rugby boys about the nasty treatment from RA.

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    For fuck sake.


    Rugby Australia doesn't give money to support Club Rugby. Anywhere. That is what the State Unions do.

    This is not Rugby Australia's problem.

    This is not Cameron Clyne's problem.

    This is not CEO of Rugby Australia (Past, present or future's problem)

    This is not the board of Rugby Australia problem. Past, present or future.

    This is an NSWRU problem and a Sydney Rugby Union problem.

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    I stopped waiting for the light at the end of tunnel and lit that bitch up myself!

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exile View Post
    For fuck sake.


    Rugby Australia doesn't give money to support Club Rugby. Anywhere. That is what the State Unions do.

    This is not Rugby Australia's problem.

    This is not Cameron Clyne's problem.

    This is not CEO of Rugby Australia (Past, present or future's problem)

    This is not the board of Rugby Australia problem. Past, present or future.

    This is an NSWRU problem and a Sydney Rugby Union problem.
    So X, and this is a serious question; if that's all true, did Rats Arse actually give that $6 million saved by executing our team to NSWRU, QRU etc, this year? And they blew it rather than funding the clubs? I mean that's what they said it was all about.

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Shasta I love you

    Thats not a serious question

    And

    You already know the answer to the question that you asked.

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    Exile
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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exile View Post
    Shasta I love you

    Thats not a serious question

    And

    You already know the answer to the question that you asked.
    Of course I knew the answer. But your devils advocate act for Rats Arse is hard to fathom. ALL the moneys from Super Rugby and Test Matches funnels thru HQ and the buck certainly stops there.

    For fucks sake.

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    Its not that hard if you stop looking for conspiracy theories along the way.

    I imagine it works something like this.

    RA gets a Cheque from SANZAAAJAR for TV Rights etc.

    RA breaks Cheque into smaller amounts for distribution by State Unions.

    I am sure that Alison can tell us the break down of what State gets what amount.

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    Exile
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    I stopped waiting for the light at the end of tunnel and lit that bitch up myself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Exile View Post
    Its not that hard if you stop looking for conspiracy theories along the way.

    I imagine it works something like this.

    RA gets a Cheque from SANZAAAJAR for TV Rights etc.

    RA breaks Cheque into smaller amounts for distribution by State Unions.

    I am sure that Alison can tell us the break down of what State gets what amount.
    I think the point is that currently what each union gets is too small to fund community Rugby and the RA promised to increase funding to each and every state by using the 6 million it claims to have saved by savagely executing the Force to be split up and distributed evenly to the remaining 4 super rugby franchises in each state and territory. This has not happened. Infact more Money has been wasted and a special set of rules have been set for the Rebels franchise which the RA seems to have written them a blank cheque to siphon all the games development and grsssroot funds through the Rebels franchise and then out to whomever and maybe even used to prop up the lifestyles of the greedy RA,VRU and Unit trust holders exposed in the senate inquiry.

    Why are the Rebels still bleeding the game dry and why hasn't a cent of the promised $6 million made its way to the grassroots game as promised when the unions are screaming for it and why is Clyne allowing decent historical rugby clubs to fall over whilst using those funds to prop up a franchise (The Rebels) who financially under O'Neil should never have been created in the first place. Its a total cluster fuck and Cameron Clyne and his minions need to pay!

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