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Season 2002 looks to be a landmark year in Gippsland Rugby League

By Mark Strini - 14th January 2002 - Back to News

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Season 2002 looks to be a landmark year in Gippsland Rugby League, as the State League Competition between 4 Melbourne teams (possibly St Kilda, Altona, Southern Sharks and Waverly), Goulbourn Murray and Gippsland, becomes closer and closer to reality. This competition will also form the selection of the State Team. The concept is well supported by most within the Gippsland league, predominantly, as an excellent chance for our young players to display there wares. Gippsland is pushing hard to play up to 5-6 matches in the State League in its first year, giving the players a taste of the big league, without compromising the local competition. Gippsland’s schedule would hopefully see the 5-6 games spread through the course of the regular season, and in doing so, would abolish the regular representative matches, and the final round of the Local season to accommodate the State League matches. Negotiations will continue this week with Melbourne, and hopefully some hard decisions will be made sooner than later, so preparations for the Local season can begin. The Gippsland squad resumes training at Maryvale Reserve Morwell this week (Tuesday and Thursday at 6.30pm), under the watchful eye of Coach Paul Chapman, in preparation for its first encounter which is expected to be around March-April.

With the Melbourne Storm returning to Olympic Park as its Home Ground, the prospect of curtain raisers again becomes a reality. Whispers have it that Gippsland has been pencilled in to open for the Storm on March 30th, whether it be a return of Gippsland East vs Gippsland West, or one of its State League Fixtures. Whatever match is played, the League is certainly excited about the prospect of returning to Olympic Park with as many Gippsland Players as possible.

The Leagues AGM was held late last year, and it was positive to see the League Committee fill all but one position, which is a 100% improvement on last year.

Mark Strini and Kiri Hiriaki where returned as President and Secretary respectively, whilst we welcome Joe Fue as the new Vice President and Rob Wright as the new Registrar. Wright and Strini were also awarded Life Memberships with the League. The new Exec committee will meet next week for the first time, and prepare themselves and the League for what promises to be a very different, but exciting season. The Leagues first General Meeting will be the first Monday in February.

Finally – the Victorian Rugby League had its AGM late last year, and our own Kiri Hiriaki was returned as one of the 6 Commissioner’s on the VRL Board. Hiriaki’s presence on the Commission is of great benefit to Gippsland Rugby League in that we have a very strong voice at a State Level. It also goes without saying that Rugby league in Victoria is greatly benefited by her presence, and we wish her, and the VRL all the best for 2002. In a year where a State Competition is all but guaranteed, they will certainly have there work cut out for them, especially as the teething problems begin to emerge.


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