The story of the foundation of junior rugby in Townsville - and the Teachers West involvement
The TDRU made the decision that 1981 would be the year Junior Rugby Union would be established in Townsville. The Senior Clubs, Brothers, City, Souths and Teachers West were all expected to provide coaches, managers and support personnel for Under 11, 13 and 15 teams. A combined sign-on was held at the Rugby Club on 28 February.
In the beginning, Sean Williams, Horse Eriksen, Peter Malpas and Dick Butler accepted the responsibility of coaching teams from Pimlico State High School, which had been assigned to the Club by the TDRU. No doubt for sensible reasons of proximity to the Rugby Club, Teachers West’s training ground at the time.
By 1987 Tony Weightman had teamed up with Peter Malpas and the pair took the junior grades to the next stage of achievement.
Around 2000, Horse once again coached Pimlico Under 15s. His charges included the self-proclaimed “Polynesian Pleasure Machine,” Aka Tuala who became one of Teachers West’s most long-serving and effective five eighths. Aka played in the 2015 A Grade Grand Final. (He was also an apprentice with Horse at Pegasus Electrical).
About this time Aaron and Blake Gold began a tradition of having Teachers West Juniors in high level representative teams Aaron played for Australia, Blake for Queensland and Andrew Bourke and his cohort continued the trend. Andrew was the Captain of the Queensland Under 16 team.
In 2008 Teachers West had five teams in Junior Grand Finals and won two of them. Brendan Hume, President at the time, was concerned about the long term viability of the Club. He also wanted to ensure the establishment of a successful home ground at Warrina Park. He saw the future of the Club and the grounds, being built on juniors. “Local kids playing local rugby,” was his catch cry.
To this end he organised a Hermit Park, Currajong and Garbutt Junior Carnival at Warrina Park. His view was that if the Club organised teams then the players would come.
Brendan was right juniors from suburbs around the Park flocked to play with the Bulldogs. There were 250 registered with the Club by 2015.
Having the numbers is one thing, coaching the boys and girls effectively is another. Under Brendan’s guidance, Teachers West developed an innovative arrangement for coaching and management of junior teams.
Instead of a single coach per team the duties were shared by two or three coaches, all with Blue Cards and Level One certificates. This meant no poorly organised training runs because a team coach could not attend, greater chances of teams having someone from the forwards and the backs to mentor them and more adults on deck to help and supervise on game day. Coaches responded well. The Club now has over forty qualified coaches on the books.
Teachers West’s Junior Club practices have put the results on the board. They were Junior Club champions in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The future looks very bright indeed for Bulldog pups!