Efforts to revive the sport of rugby union in the Lower Mid North Coast (LMNC) region will continue in 2020 with a number of exciting developments planned for the junior game.
Aaron Dodds will be the new driving force behind LMNC junior rugby, bringing a strong and passionate team with him along with sustainable growth ideas for the future. He will replace Lee Sullivan, who has helped drive the current revival.
"Firstly we would all like to thank Lee Sullivan for the amazing work he has done for the last few years, with the development of men's, women's and junior rugby," Mr Dodds said.
"We look forward to seeing you on the sidelines when you visit, relaxing and enjoying the game."
With over 70 kids being introduced to the game in the area in early 2019, efforts to build on these numbers will continue in the new year with a number of pathway programs planned.
This will kick-off with three free 'Come Try Rugby' introductory days in January, open to children between six and 14.
The first one will be held at Old Bar on January 20, followed by Forster Tuncurry on January 21 and Wallamba on January 22.
The 'Get Into Rugby' program that ran in early 2019 will run again in 2020, beginning on February 14 and running to April 3.
Open to six to 14-year-olds, the program will again be held each week at Aub Ferris Oval, Nabiac, with the under 10s, 12s and 14s to take part in a competition after an initial three weeks of training and establishing teams.
Cost of registration is $75, which includes the provision of shorts, socks and a training shirt. Some school-based programs are also in store, with PSSA and private school challenges organised.
"Creating the connection from school to paddock is vital for the ongoing development of rugby," Mr Dodds said.
He encouraged "all clubs to support the local schools and create exciting pathways for school to club."
A Ramsay Foundation grant has also been applied for, with the objective of starting a weekly under 17s competition in term three of 2020 between local secondary schools.
Mr Dodds also encouraged senior clubs in the area to donate a set of old club jerseys, invest in a set of junior training shirts and try to create a community of kids running around in their club's strip.
"What a wonderful sight, seeing kids - the next generation of rugby stars - running around, training and playing in your strip, walking down the street creating pride and a rugby family," he said.
He encouraged those interested in getting involved in junior rugby in the area to get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org.