Rabbitohs Season Highlights

What a year it has been on and off the field for South Darwin. While we didn’t get the Grand Final berths in our top grades, we came so close. Here’s a recap on all the highlights on and off the field for the Club.

Country King Browns win the Hottest 7s Buff Plate Comp
Rugby for South Darwin got off to a flying start when the Country King Browns (CKBs) featuring a strong contingent of South Darwin players and coaching staff won the Buff Plate in the 2014 Hottest 7s over the Australia Day long weekend.

The CKBs, who played as the Rydges King Browns, won the Buff division in convincing style beating the NT Mozzies side.

South Darwin’s Player/Coach Tim Atkinson captained the side and was joined by fellow Rabbits Rhys Mullholland and Lepani Nabuliwaqa with James de Dassel as Team Manager. South Darwin also lined up to defend their title from 2013 in the Gecko Shield Competition and made it through to the finals.

Sharpie attends Training and Sponsor Welcome
Club Ambassador and former Wallaby Nathan Sharpe attended a South Darwin Training Session to share his expertise and advice prior to the Easter break. It was a well attended session with the players learning from one of the game’s best.

Nathan then attended a Sponsors welcome at Darwin Rydges Airport and Resort Hotel. He met several sponsors including Justin Boydell from Rydges, Jack Forrest from Forrest Building Co, James de Dassel from JJ’s Car Hire as well as new Club Captain Keegan Neale.

We launch new Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and The Burrow
One of the Committee’s key focus in 2014 was to revamp the Club’s brand and image. This was part of the overall strategy to broaden the Club’s appeal and to attract new supporters both Members and Sponsors to the Club.

With Digital Agency Mojo Collective joining us a sponsor we were able to leverage their expertise to develop a new website and launch our social media platforms.

We also launched the new monthly ‘The Burrow’ of which Members and supporters can subscribe to via the link on our home page.

AFA South Darwin Rugby Union Tens
We started the year off with the very successful South Darwin Rugby Tens competition sponsored by Australian Financial Advisers Darwin. Event Organiser and South Darwin Rugby Union Club Captain Steven Eardley said the crowd of over 350 enjoyed the competition amoung the eight teams involved including the Grey Hares Over 35s team. Plus there was the Hahn SuperDry sprint won by Tom Hiramatsu and in honour of Steve Heggen former Souths Sport Club President and the event coinciding with the Club’s Junior sign on day.

The Tens generated great exposure over Social Media on the Club’s Twitter with retweets from Darwin Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim, Top End Tweets, NT Rugby and we also tagged others such as Peter FitzSimons, Nathan Sharpe to promote the event.

We also had coverage on ABC Grandstand during Charlie King’s and NT News ran a story in Saturday’s paper on the day of the event.

Ladies Champas & Canapes at Rydges Darwin Airport Resort & Hotel
We held the first SDRUC Ladies cocktail evening thanks to our sponsors Rydges Darwin Airport Resort & Hotel on Friday 21 March.

The ladies enjoyed a great night out and it was the ideal opportunity to meet new Members to our Club before the season got underway. There were great prizes from The Bookshop Darwin, Ella Bache, Intimo Lingerie and Rydges.

Bunnings BBQ in February and on Easter Monday
Thanks to the visionary Chris ‘Whitty’ Whitrod, we secured two Bunnings BBQ days on 1 February and Easter Monday.

Both days involved many hands on board and thanks to all those involved for making this happen. It resulted in record fundraising for the Club and reportedly the most ever sold sausages at Bunnings BBQ in Darwin. It’s just the way we roll at Souths!

The season gets underway
The 2014 competition kicked off on Saturday 21 March and started off with huge wins in both grades against Darwin Dragons with the Parap Tavern 1st XV posting a 33-0 win. The JJ’s Car Hire Killer Bees won 51-5.

The Club was buoyed by the return of several players including Rhys Mulholland, Tom Wright, Jack Lawrence, David Boyle, Jake Rainger and Jack Briggs to name a few. We also welcomed new players such as Alec McDonald, Michael Barnes, Don Banks, Adam Porter, Jason Langdon, Whitmer Tuputala, Joshua Price and Keegan Neal who went onto become the Captain of the 1st XV.

Launch of Membership & Member’s sign on day at Parap
We officially launched the Club’s Membership program by holding a Member’s sign on day at Parap Tavern on Saturday 4 May. For our first season, our goal was 100 Members and we signed over 70 Members. We nominated Nathan Sharpe as our Number 1 ticket holder and all Life Members were honoured with a Membership. Thank you to all who supported the Club’s membership drive, including one Chris Whitrod who bought Membership for his unborn niece/nephew.

We want to continue to grow our Membership base and provide all Darwin sports fans a quality Club to support and enjoy. Member benefits included the exclusive South Darwin Member Cap, Member Card, Key Tag, Bumper Sticker and Free Entry to games.

AFA Darwin Financial and Life Planning workshop
As a proud sponsor of the South Darwin Rugby Union Club, Australian Financial Advisers (Darwin) presented to over 30 players, partners and Members a free workshop on the ‘Principles of Wealth Creation’.

The session was held on Wednesday 14 May from 5.00pm will be held at AFA’s office in Darwin’s CBD. All those in attendance benefited from the expert advice provided by AFA and received a follow up complimentary one on one consultation. We are proud of our sponsorship with AFA as we continue to work together for the 2015 season.

Friday night Raffles at the home of the Rabbits, Parap Tavern
We couldn’t do it without them, the Parap Tavern and thanks to Dan Dowling and all the staff for allowing the Club to sell raffle tickets in the first part of the season.

As the Club grows, so too does our supporter base and we thank all the patrons of Parap for kindly purchasing Raffle tickets and helping the Club fund its junior’s, senior’s and women’s teams.

Annual Junior Presentation at Leanyer Water Park
South Darwin Rugby Union Club held its annual presentation for the Junior players on Saturday 23 August.

Reggie the Rabbit was on hand, as was Vice President James de Dassel, Club Captain Steven Eardley, A Grade Coach Tim Atkinson, Junior Sponsor Forrest Building Company Director Jack Forrest and under 7 coach Graeme Finch, as well as Junior Coordinator Judith Carne and parent helper Tamie Needham.

Well done to all with the junior children receiving the South Darwin Member Cap, sticker and participation certificate. A special mention also to Darren McGorm who was Under 15’s player of the year.

Life Members inducted at Annual Presentation Dinner
We were pleased to announce two new Life Members were inducted to South Darwin Rugby Club at the Annual presentation dinner on Saturday 30 August.

Long standing Women’s Rugby Player, Committee Member and Member of the Club, Stef Wolfe. Stef has devoted over 10 years to the Club on all levels from the administration to the game day operations.

Former President and player Andrew Wise was also inducted as a Life Member. Andrew was Club President for two years and served on the Committee for a total of five years. Wisey captained the last premiership winning team in 2008 and also happened to win the Eric Johnson medal that year.

Congratulations to both Stef and Wisey!

Annual Senior Presentation Event at Parap Tavern
South Darwin Rugby Union Club held its annual presentation last night (30 August) with Rhys Mulholland taking the out the Player of the Year for Men’s and Kass Lehman for the Women’s. Steven Eardley and Martin Kelly once again put together a range of special unofficial awards after the formal presentations.

Well done to all and especially James de Dassel for all his countless hours for the Club throughout the year.

Annual Awards: South Darwin Rugby Union 2014
Men’s Awards
Parap Tavern 1st XV
Best and Fairest: Rhys Mulholland
Players Player: Tom Hiramatsu

JJ’s Car Hire Killer Bees
Best and Fairest: Hayden Summers
Players Player: Brodie Cullen

Senior Men’s Emerging Talent: Keegan Neal
Senior Men’s Player of the Year: Rhys Mulholland

Women’s Awards:
Best and Fairest: Kass Lehmann
Players Player: Kayla Exarhos
Emerging Talent: Katrina Brennan

Club Awards:
Clubman of the Year: Tom Griffith (aka Oceanhippie)
Supporter of the Year: Kim Williams

Congratulations to all.

Women’s Rugby team in 2014
It was a tough year for the Women’s Rugby with other Clubs not entering teams. Still our mighty Rabbitohs team forged ahead and played friendly matches with University Pirates each weekend. There were five returning players including Gabby Wolfe, Bec Dunbar, Stef van Dyke and Katie Ayers plus a few cameos throughout the year from club veterans Anita Lewfatt and Judy Carne.

With many new rookies in the side there were a lot of learnings and coach Pete Gray (a first grade player who was out injured for the season), showed plenty of commitment to guide the team throughout the year. One such rookie was Kass Lehman, who had a stellar year and was named NT Rugby’s Women player of the year.

The women’s team are keen to go again in 2015 and hope to see the NT Rugby plan ahead and encourage all Clubs to organise teams. The team is also looking for a Coach for next season and a team sponsor. Please contact Women’s representative Gabby Wolfe via the Club’s Contact Us page.

South Darwin Committee special acknowledgement
He was a nominee for the 2014 NT Sports Awards and the 2014 NT Rugby Volunteer Official of the Year, and no doubt came close to taking out both.

James de Dassel is the ultimate Club man, providing relentless time and effort to ensure each week South Darwin is competing, the players and coaching staff have what they need and everyone else has a go to man to help them get things done.

James on behalf of the Committee, the coaches, players and all Members and supporters, thank you to you and to Jess for her patience in the hours you put into our Club.

Coach Tim Atkinson’s wrap up
We came close but in the end it was disappointing for all of us to lose three out of the four Semis in the two senior men’s teams. B grade were great against a very strong Darwin Dragons outfit in the minor semi-final and held on to win 27-17. A grade fought hard but couldn’t quite get the job done against Casuarina Cougars in the major semi losing by one point.

A combination of injuries and player’s who weren’t able to stay for the full season certainly made it more challenging however there has to be no excuses. We need the playing group to realise that good teams need to commit to training for the full season and particularly in those crucial games in the back end of the season.

Congratulations to University Pirates who were the eventual winners of the A grade premiership. The Grand Final looked like a hard fought battle. Hopefully the sting of not making it two years in a row for South Darwin will be enough incentive for our club to re-group and do the job next season.

Congratulations also to all winners at the Club’s presentation night especially Rhys Mullholland on a stellar year. We hope you make the most of the opportunity coming up with QLD Country in the National Rugby Competition.

We farewelled old friends and club legends
We sadly lost two long time South Members this year. Earlier in the year we farewelled Dotty Parker who played for the women’s team for a number of years and was a huge part of the South Darwin Rugby Union Club.

More recently we were saddened of Terry Annersley’s (pictured) passing, a former player and long time supporter. He was farewelled with his beloved Rabbitohs socks and a footy tucked under his wing.