By Ron Lane
To build a successful club is of course no easy task, and if you take the time to look closely, you will always find, that there are many major factors involved. On taking a close look at our Noosa district, you will become aware that there is (among others)one such club: Its’ name, is the Noosa Dolphins Rugby Union Club and one of their prime factors is, without a doubt, the Noosa Ladies Dolphins.
It only takes a short time discussing the clubs background with Club President Donald Mc Kill, to realise the respect he has for this committee. “Our club is incredibly proud of the women who work within the Junior and Senior sections of the club. We have Donna Frey(Grants Coordinator), Helen Cutcliffe ( Treasurer), Zoe Griffin (Junior President),Marie Cairns (Register) and Tash Ramsden (Media): these women are an incredible asset to our club. I would like the opportunity to mention, that Donna and Tash have recently been recognised with volunteer community awards, for their contribution to local sports clubs. Also, other ladies involved in a variety of roles within our club, are also very much appreciated by all.’’ It is interesting to note, that all these women are mothers, with young boys playing rugby in the junior ranks.
It is only right that we should publicly acknowledge and identify these people, but I feel that we should also have some knowledge as to the work- load they accept when taking on their various positions.
One of the most important positions in any club, would have to be that of Junior President. Without a strong junior club providing and maintaining, a good flow of juniors into the senior ranks, the senior will start to suffer: and for the Noosa Dolphins the holder of this vital chair is Zoe Griffin. This lady in doing so, has created club history by becoming the first ever female Junior President; holding the position for the past two years.
Zoe has three children and one of them, eldest son Louie, is an absolute rugby tragic. Louie who started playing for Dolphins at 6, is this year in the U/15s. “His love for the sport and the club,” said his proud mum, “is what encouraged me to get on board and help out years ago! I love the club as it is family for many kids. The loyalty that the kids have for the team, mates, club and coaches is magic to watch. They help each other in tough times and stick together-win lose or draw. The club is much more than just a game of rugby. It is a tribe for some and a comfortable home for others: it is a place where friendships are made, through mutual interests and respect for each other.” With a Junior President giving such an assurance as this, there can be no doubt that the player future on the Noosa Dolphins is in good hands.
The care of the magic dollar is and has always been of the utmost concern. However, for the Dolphins Junior Treasurer Helen Cutcliffe, working with her present committee of good solid dedicated ladies in a happy environment, all is good. For Helen it all started when her son Michael saw the light and switched from rugby league to rugby union. Starting his career in the U/10s, he is now in his final season of Senior Colts and next year will play Reserve Grade. From the moment her son started playing for the Dolphins Helen was strongly attracted by the good solid family atmosphere. “I wanted immediately to be part of the club myself. To offer my services and to help in some way. My husband felt the same way, so he also became actively involved in the club. Our current committee and volunteer coaches all share the common goal of wanting to grow and better our club for both junior and senior players, sponsors and members alike. As with other committee members the importance of many friendships of varying ages has been the major factor. “My sons’ mates who always take the time to say hullo and give me a hug; the mums and dads who cheer from the sideline and the senior members who have supported and respected me in my current roles.” Again, the family environment: something that money can’t buy.
For Donna Frey, her involvement in the club came about as a result of watching her husband Rob ( also a former player)performing his role as club Junior President: a position he held for several years. “Watching Rob and listening to him speak of the respect, culture and history made me want to give something back to this club. When our kids started playing in the juniors, the cub really became a major part of our family life: the club life provided our kids with a sporting pathway that helped them through the turbulent years.”
Regarding her position, the success of receiving her first grant was an amazing feeling: generating the extra dollars that was so badly needed for this not- for- profit- club. In her capacity as a volunteer Grants Coordinator, Donna is now working on a major Club Facility Upgrade. “With the Strategic Plan completed in 2020, it identified that to stay a leading Rugby Union Club on the Sunshine Coast, several parts of the facility needed to be upgraded.” She is currently working on the club’s Master Plan and she, and the Senior Committee are finalising the elements needed for the upgrade, including a club house upgrade, Field 2 Amenities and viewing deck and sealing of the car park based which has also been based on member feedback. Donna will represent the club and forge strong partnerships, with local Council, State and Federal Departments with regard to Grant and funding opportunities. This, plus the clubs own fundraising, will make the Facility Upgrade a reality in the near future.
To say that the position of the club Media Officer is important, is something of an understatement; for the responsibility of keeping the modern day Social- Media up to date, plus having the support of, and access to, all avenues of the local Media, is indeed the lifeblood of the future. Happy to say that for the Noosa Dolphins, Tash Ramsden is definitely the lady for the job: her ability to maintain “good communication to its members and public arenas” gives all sections of the club a good feeling of transparency.
For Tash, her association with the club started eighteen years ago, when she met Rohan Ramsden a player, and now coach, who was to become her husband and father of their two sons (now playing junior rugby) Rory and Lewis. “I am inspired by their passion and enthusiasm: our members are so giving of their time and skills, that it’s a pleasure to be around the place. Some of our dearest friends are Dolphins, so it’s very easy to spend a lot of time at the club.” Whilst not on the actual committee, Tash volunteers’ countless hours, thus ensuring that Dolphins’ communications never falter.
The lady, who holds the office of club Registrar Marie Cairns, has done so since 2013. Her first contact came about when her son Alex, joined the club to play Rugby for the Dolphins U/7s in 2006: he continued to do so till 2017. Like all the ladies she loves the club. “Being part of this community club makes me feel like I am a part of something greater than myself: although I do like flying under the radar, I just really like getting on with what I volunteered to do.” Despite the fact that her son no longer plays for the club, she can still be seen volunteering for every event: she is now definitely, an integral part of the club.
In her official capacity as Registrar, she is in charge of the registration and insurance of all players, a job which in this day and age, is of the utmost importance. Also, this year she has been a club representative, keeping abreast with all the latest regulations regarding Covid Safe Practice: with the ever- changing regulations, this has been no easy job.
It is interesting to note that all five ladies became involved because their children were playing junior rugby. Also, it is reputed that almost half of the Dolphins (a White Ribbon Club) Senior Committee are ladies. And mums to boot! Perhaps this is why, when watching a game or socialising with friends after, one can’t help but get the feeling that the Noosa Dolphins is indeed a family club.
For lovers of Rugby, both League and Union, this Saturday will be big with both Dolphins and Pirates hosting home games in all grades. For Dolphins it’s Vs University first game 10.30am, Pirates Vs Nambour first game 1pm. Good luck to both.