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Casino Cougars crowned Club of the Year

Casino Cougars crowned Grassroots Club of the Year

Casino Cougars crowned NSWRL Grassroots Club of the Year

Author : NSWRL Media Release

A Junior Rugby League club on the far north coast of NSW that has used True Blues Cody Walker and Matt King, and NRL legend Preston Campbell, to teach participants the importance of inclusion has taken out the NSWRL Grassroots Club of the Year.

The Casino Cougars, who Walker and King both played for as juniors, were nominated for their work in bringing the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community together and for building a sense of unity and inclusivity for their players, families and supporters.

Casino Cougars President Adam Hickey said the players had taken a lot out of the visits of the NRL stars, both past and present.

“Cody took the Under 16s and Under 18s on training runs and spoke to the boys about the pressures and how he got to where he was and his achievements,” Hickey said.

“When Matt gets a chance, he comes up and we do the Matty King Shield where all the Casino kids get together at school carnivals.

“Preston sat down and spoke to the boys about the same thing as what Cody was talking about. Mindset, always being healthy, looking out for each other, just be a family at the end of the day.”

Hickey said he was humbled by the award and was quick to heap praise on all stakeholders who have contributed to the club’s success.

The club has seen an increase in their participation numbers this season, which is a great result considering the disruptions that have been caused due to COVID-19.

“Our numbers grew and have been growing for the last 10 years,” Hickey said.

“I think back in 2012 we only had 130 odd kids and now we’re at 340 so everything’s just exploded. Last year during COVID-19 we still had 250 kids registered and then we had another increase of 90 kids this year so we must be doing something right.

“Thank you to our community, and to all the coaches and trainers.

“Thank you to our local sponsors and especially the RSM Club for sticking with us for the last 45 years. That’s a big deal, without those guys we wouldn’t be where we’re at.”

The Grassroots Club of the Year Award is one of 18 Volunteer of the Year Awards the NSWRL issues every year to acknowledge the tireless work volunteers contribute to community football every season.

The NSWRL has already announced other Volunteer of the Year Award winners including the Inclusive Volunteer of the Year Award, the Indigenous Volunteer of the Year Award, Community Coach of the Year (Male), Community Coach of the Year (Female) and Regional Volunteers of the Year.

The Gordon Lowrie Memorial Award for the overall 2021 Volunteer of the Year will be announced next week.

NSWRL Volunteer of the Year Awards

NSWRL Gordon Lowrie Volunteer of the Year Award (to be announced)

NSWRL Dennis Braybrook Referees Association Award (to be announced)

NSWRL Grassroots Club of the Year (Casino Cougars)

NSWRL Indigenous Volunteer of the Year – Rhonda Hynch (Wilcannia Parntu Warriors)

NSWRL Inclusive Volunteer of the Year – Ethan Shultz (Albury Thunder)

NSWRL Coach of the Year Male – Alan Brookman (Valley Dragons)

NSWRL Coach of the Year Female – Pauline Wagner (Kyogle SRFLC)

Regional Volunteer of the Year winners (Gordon Lowrie Volunteer of the Year Award chosen from this list)

Volunteer of the Year Bidgee Region – Katie Howard (Wagga Brothers)

Volunteer of the Year Western Region – Tammy Greenhalgh (Bloomfield JRL)

Volunteer of the Year Northern Region – Jack Woolaston (North Tamworth)

Volunteer of the Year East Coast Region – Rebecca Austin (Forster Tuncurry)

Volunteer of the Year Southern Sydney Region – Theresa Tasaico (Riverwood Legion)

Volunteer of the Year South Coast Region – Chris Shea (Southern Highlands)

Volunteer of the Year Broken Bay Region – David Zimmer (Willoughby Roos)

Volunteer of the Year Newcastle and Maitland Region – Sharon Jones (Windale JRLFC)

Volunteer of the Year Central Sydney Region – John Critchley (Five Dock RSL)

Volunteer of the Year Macarthur Region – Robert Dreis (Appin Dogs)

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