THE Ellenbrook Rabbitohs Rugby League Club was a blank canvas a year ago but today the club is a masterpiece in organisation, ingenuity, commitment and vision.
In 12 months, a club with “family, fun and community” as its core values went from having no players, members, playing facilities, club structure or community presence to a robust organisation with a burgeoning membership of 500 and a strong community presence. From humble beginnings, the club has recruited the broad range of people essential to become the lifeblood of any sporting organisation – players, sponsors, supporters and volunteers.
Aside from providing sporting opportunities for its community, the Rabbitohs have reached out with charity food drives, free summer movie nights, come and try days, fundraising for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (among others), community family fun days and shopping centre displays promoting community involvement and an active lifestyle through team sports.
The club has since received awards, including the City of Swan’s Blue Ribbon 2015 Club of the Year and the NRL’s One Community and Education Award as the Grassroots Club of the Year.
The Ellenbrook club claimed that award ahead of more than 1000 other junior clubs, mainly spread through rugby league heartland of NSW and Queensland.
The club was also shortlisted for a new category at the RAC WA Sports Star Awards, the RAC Insurance Beyond Sport Award.
The category, which is in its first year, was created by the WA Sports Federation to recognise clubs that have worked to achieve an outcome that benefited their community, be it within the club itself or the wider community.
Rabbitohs business manager Sean Jeffries said the recognition from the nomination was an enormous benefit to the club as it continues to grow.
“It is a huge thing for a small club to get this sort of recognition,” Mr Jeffries said.
“It helps our profile on social media and also helps attracts investment and sponsorship.”
Mr Jeffries said the club was is intent on growing further after a flourishing beginning and was examining other community-minded programs.
The RAC Insurance Beyond Sport Award will be presented at one of the biggest events on the WA sporting calendar, the RAC WA Sports Star of the Year awards night, on December 7 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.