The Kurnell Stingrays are putting the community back into community Rugby League
The Kurnell Stingrays have become the little club that can. Sitting on the outskirts of the Shire, this quiet coastal village of approximately 2,500 people is now home to a Rugby League club with close to 400 male and female participants.
The growth hasn't happened overnight. The introduction of the non contact form of Rugby League - Tag League has seen a huge rise in the number of people signing up and playing Rugby League at a local club. The Stingrays have transformed leaps and bounds in the past 5 years not only growing as a club but also redefining what it means to play Rugby League. Tim McKay, the president of the Stingrays, tells us how Rugby League tag has allowed them to do so.
“Tag league has helped us become a family orientated club, Mum can play now in the open women's and the over 30s tag and the girls can play basically from 4 years old.” With all members of the family now being able to play it has moved away from the typical stereotype story of Dad coaches and the son plays.
The Over 30s Tag is a new concept to the area in 2022. With a number of mums already involved with the club and their friends all wanting to play, the Kurnell club went about trying to form an avenue of participation for them. Whilst other clubs weren't able to get the numbers to form a team, this didn't stop the Stingrays. With some modified rules and less players on the smaller field they were able to form 4 teams that now play each other on a Saturday afternoon in a fun, friendly (and slightly competitive) environment. With Kurnell being the pioneers of the Over 30s competition it is hoped that in 2023 more teams will pop up across the Shire due to the success seen by the Stingrays.
League tag has done nothing but good for Rugby League introducing people to the game who have been tentative with the physicality of the game and acts as a very viable option for women's participation in the sport. It’s this participation that has brought about the success of the Kurnell Stingrays growth. Tim presenting us with impressive numbers, “It has been so beneficial for a little club like us, growing from 9 teams to 29 in about 5 years.”
Further building the community connection of the club is the clubhouse hosting pizza and footy nights. New additions such as a fireplace and large screen TV have added to the welcoming feel of the club and helped keep up with the growing Rugby League community. It forms a inclusive atmosphere where all of the family can enjoy a bite to eat or a refreshing drink while family members train on a cool winter's night or play on a nice, sunny weekend afternoon.
Tim explained that “the boy's club is sort of gone, it's now a family orientated theme” As League Tag has broadened peoples view of Rugby League, more and more people are wanting to get involved and be a part of this little community that can!!!
A sample of the Over 30s in action below.