2019 Volunteer Appreciation Evening – winners, interviews, photos

The 2019 Volunteer Appreciation Evening acknowledges the incredible efforts of grassroots clubs and volunteers who have donated countless hours of hard work and commitment to the game of Rugby League.

A total of 15 awards were presented in front of nearly 200 guests at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence on a night that celebrated the valuable contributions of clubs and volunteers across various facets of the game. 

See below for the finalists and winners in each respective category. 

NSWRL Inclusive Volunteer of the Year 

Our Inclusive Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to someone that has shown a measured contribution to one of the many NSW Inclusive Rugby League programs.  

Finalists: Keith Povah (NSW Physical Disability Rugby League), Steve Hewson (NSW Wheelchair Rugby League), John Mannah (Como Jannali Junior Rugby League Club), David Smith (New South Wales Physical Disability Rugby League)

Winner: David Smith (New South Wales Physical Disability Rugby League)

NSWRL Indigenous Volunteer of the Year

The NSWRL Indigenous Volunteer of the Year Award recognises a person that has given of their time to the game in our Indigenous Communities

Finalists: Richard Christopher Barnes (East Campelltown Eagles), Shane Scott (Hinchinbrook Hornets), Caine Carroll (Colyton Colts/Butucarbin Warriors). 

Winner: Caine Carroll (Colyton Colts/Butucarbin Warriors)

NSWRL Women in League Award  

Finalists: Valeris O'Sullivan (Alexandria Rovers), Roubah Sleiman (Guildford Owls), Carmen Jackson (Minto Cobras), Chu-mana Lee (Penhurst RSL), Belinda Reeve, Theresa Tasaico (Riverwood Legion), Kellie Stubbs (Como Jannali), Marianne Caddy (Physical Disability Rugby League), Toni Hughes (Arncliffe Scots), Danielle Towers (Milperra Colts/Canterbury Bankstown District Junior League)

Winners: Danielle Towers (Milperra Colts/Canterbury Bankstown District Junior League)

NSWRL Grassroots Club of the Year

The NSWRL Grassroots Club of the Year Award is presented to a Junior Rugby League Club that has fostered participation and enjoyment for participants at all levels, has become an integral part of their community and has shown innovation in administration. 

Finalists: Willoughby Roos (North Sydney JRL), Revesby Heights Rhinos (Canterbury Bankstown JRL), All Saints Liverpool (Wests Tigers Macarthur JRL), Marrickville RSL (South Sydney JRL), Cromer Kingfishers (Manly Warringah JRL) Como Janalli Crocodiles (Cronulla Sutherland JRL, Grevstanes Devils (Parramatta District) 

Winner: Greystanes Devils (Parramatta District) 

NSWRL District Volunteer of the Year Awards  

The NSWRL District Volunteer of the Year Awards recognises an outstanding volunteer from each District. NSWRL received well over 100 nominations from over 11 Districts, with respective winners determined by our judging panel included 6 members of NSWRL staff, one from each of our departments. 

Each winner will be invited to the Brad Fittler Medal with the overall 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award being announced on the evening. 

Balmain District

Finalists: Matthew Walters Robb (Five Dock RSL), Raymond Bazouni (Leichhardt Wanderers), Cheyne Harrison (Leichhardt Juniors), Damien Mackey (Carlingford Cougars)

Winner: Damien Mackey (Carlingford Cougars)

Canterbury Bankstown Junior League

Finalists: Stanley Heteraka (Bankstown Bulls), Robyn Graham (Moorebank Rams), Matthew O'Neill (Bankstown Bulls), Lawrence Karam (Bankstown Bulls) 

Winner: Lawrence Karam (Bankstown Bulls) 

Cronulla-Sutherland Junior Rugby League

Finalists: Shayne Cremona (Menai Roosters), Shaun Osfield (Taren Point Titans), Sonia Cooper (Menai Roosters) 

Winner: Sonia Cooper (Menai Roosters) 

Manly Warringah Junior League

Finalists:  Robert Butcher (Harbord Devils), Anthony Rogers (Beacon Hill Bears) 

Winner: Anthony Rogers (Beacon Hill Bears) 

North Sydney Junior Rugby League 

Finalists: Martin Irvine (Willoughby Roos), Michael Asensio (Kuringgai Cubs), Jodi Zimmer (Willoughby Roos), Vicky Perdikaris (Willoughby Roos)

Winner: Vicky Perdikaris (Willoughby Roos)

Parramatta Junior League

Finalists: Maree Tohi (Canley Vale), Rowena Mezzomo (Rouse Hill Rhinos), James Power (Kellyville Bushrangers), Martina Bialluch (Winston Hills Junior Rugby League) 

Winner: Martina Bialluch – Winston Hills Junior Rugby League 

Penrith and Districts Junior Rugby League

Finalists: Tasha Reynolds (Emu Plains), Grant Bulpett (Quakers Hill), Megan Buckley (Blacktown Workers)

Winner: Megan Buckley (Blacktown Workers)

South Sydney Junior League

Finalists: Luigi Pengue (South Sydney Mustangs), Daniel Jurd (Mascot Juniors), Shane manning (Maroubra Lions), Perry Johnstone (Alexandria Rovers)

Winner: Perry Johnstone (Alexandria Rovers)

St George District Junior Rugby League

Finalists: Karam Taouk (Kingsgrove Colts), Brett Hagan (Hurstville United), Chu'mana Lee (Penshurst RSL)

Winner: Chu’mana Lee – Penshurst RSL

Sydney Roosters District Junior Rugby League

Finalists: Leanne Bergen (Clovelly Crocodiles), Brad Peterson (Clovelly Crocodiles) 

Winner: Brad Peterson – Clovelly Crocodiles (deceased) 

*Award received by Clovelly Crocodiles Vice President on Brad's behalf

Wests Tigers Macarthur Junior Rugby League

Finalists: Renea Smith (Liverpool Catholic Club), Carmen Jackson (Minto Cobras), Alison Paea (Minto Cobras), Charlie Alam (All Saints Liverpool)

Winner: Charlie Alam (All Saints Liverpool)*

*Award winner not in attendance

Service to Rugby League

For several years, a small group of gentlemen, mostly older ex players, have volunteered a days work a week to run tours through the NRL Museum at Moore Park. 

This group of outstanding volunteers have also  give their time to the Men of League Foundation, making welfare and support visits to anyone connected to Rugby League who may be in need, as well as assisting at Men of League events when required. 

Volunteers: Gordon Turner, Fred Jackson, Ken Vessey, Garry O'Donnell, Gerry Ogle, Peter Kennan, Terry Hughes, Ian McLennan, Ian Dodds, Dave Heponstall, Warren Thompson, Bob Nugent