Gold Coast District Junior Rugby League History
The date, October 20 1976 marked an important date in the development of Rugby League on the Gold Coast. The Inaugural meeting of the Gold Coast District Rugby League Junior Division held on this day marked the beginning of one of the most competitive junior divisions in Queensland.
Rugby League delegates and members of the community were present from a number of clubs including Tigers, Burleigh, Runaway Bay, Nerang, Beaudesert, Brothers, Currumbin and the Referees association. The meeting was chaired by members from the Brisbane Rugby League. This meeting concluded with the Gold Coast District Rugby League Junior Division being affiliated with Brisbane Rugby League.
In 1977, the first Gold Coast Junior Rugby League season kicked off on 16 April 1977. This included teams in ages U7 - U15 from Burleigh, Brothers, Currumbin, Nerang, Runaway Bay and Tigers. Tigers also fielded "Special A" teams in the Brisbane Rugby League in U10, U12 and U14. On April 13 1977, the proposal for the Gold Coasts own Minor Leagues referees association was approved. This marked an important step forward in the running of the Gold Coast competitions.
The start of the 1980 competition season included 49 teams from Burleigh, Brothers, Currumbin, Runaway Bay, Nerang and Tigers. Commencing on the 17th of May 1980, Burleigh and Brothers U14 teams were to compete on a home and away basis with Seagulls, Cudgen and Murwillumbah (from Group 18).
At this point the Gold Coast Junior League had been operating in affiliation with the Brisbane Rugby League for 5 years. During this period the league had grown considerably and included over 50 teams from U7-U16 competing both locally and in the Brisbane league. In 1981, further expansion of the junior league continued with the addition of Beenleigh and Beaudesert into the junior league.
Between 1982 and 1984 the Brothers JRL became known as "Brothers - Sharks JRLFC". The Gold Coast Junior Rugby League was also proud to announce the implementation of an under 17’s age group to the GCDJRL. 1984 also saw the addition of the Waterford JRL to the GCDJRL. In September 1984, the GCDJRL relinquished its affiliation with the Brisbane Rugby League Junior division and became affiliated with the Gold Coast Rugby League (seniors).
In 1987 the Waterford JRL and the Beenleigh JRL become disaffiliated with the GCDJRL and joined the Brisbane JRL competition. By 1990, the GCDJRL became an incorporated body i.e. Gold Coast District Junior Rugby League Inc. 1990 also marked the beginning of a joint competition with the Group 18 Junior teams in U13 -U17. On the 9th of October 1990 the Brothers Sharks decided to once again rebrand their club to be known as "Parkwood Brothers Sharks JRL".
In 1991, the Helensvale Hornets JRL joined the GCDJRL. The Mudgeeraba Redback JRL followed soon after and became a part of the GCDJRL in 1992. During 1991 GCDJRL became part of Southern Division with their Chairman sitting on the Southern Division Board. On the 11th February 1992, a motion was proposed and approved to appoint a salaried administrator to do all registrations, the draw and any other administrative tasks as required. Carol Willett was appointed as the first salaried Administrator.
Between the years 1995 and 1999 three junior clubs joined the GCDJRL including the Tamborine Mountain Bushrats in 1995; the South tweed JRL joined the U13/14/15 competition in 1997 and Ormeau JRL in 1999.
In 2001, the introduction of the Amateur Competition for players 18 and over commenced. 2001 also saw the introduction of Rugby League development officers by the Australian Rugby League (ARL). The ARL officers played a huge role in developing interest and participation for Rugby League at grass roots level.
Season 2002 saw the Group 18 JRL Clubs leave our competition and the introduction of the combined U17/18 competition. However, in 2002 the Bilambil U17/18 team joined in the GCDJRL competition.
In 2003, the Gold Coast Amateur League become affiliated with the Gold Coast Rugby League (GCRL) and disaffiliated with the GCDJRL.
Jimboomba Junior Rugby League became affiliate with the GCDJRL in 2004 with the addition of 5 teams. The GCDJRL also hosted the U17/U19 State Titles at Runaway Bay and the U13/U14/U16 State Titles at Carrara Stadium.
In 2005, the employment of a Coaching Development Officer for the GCDJRL was approved. Mr Gary Wallace was fortunate enough to fill the position until March 2005. Mitch Graham commenced employment in this role in September 05.
In the off season of 2004, the Reedy Creek Raptors became affiliated with the GCDJRL. In the 2005 season, the Raptors fielded teams in U7, U9, U10, and U11, combined with the Parkwood Club with a U12 team. The off season of 2005 saw the formation of a new Club at Canungra, named the Canungra Junior Loggers.
Prior to the commencement of the 2006 season the Tweed Tugun Seahawks entered a team into the Under 17 competition. In 2007, Gold Coast Cudgen came on board and submitted a team in the Under 17's.
In February 2007 the Gold Coast Titans played their first NRL Telstra Premiership game at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane against the St. George Illawarra Dragons. The introduction of the Gold Coast Titans significantly enhanced the image of Rugby League on the Gold Coast. This marked a huge step forward for the GCDJRL and also brought about more exposure for the sport. This also presented our junior players with more opportunities/pathways in Rugby league on the Gold Coast.
In 2008, the Under 17 competition dramatically expanded with teams from south of the border joining the Gold Coast competition.
In 2009, numbers grew to 5000 players with our U/17 competition including over border clubs Bilambil and Tugun Seahawks. With the dramatic expansion of the junior league, the GCDJRL decided to employ a fulltime “Operation Manager” to service in increase needs of the clubs and competition. With extensive previous experience in Rugby League, Mr Gary Phillips was deemed by the executives of the GCDJRL as perfect for this position. Mr Phillips appointment marked a step in the right direction for the GCDJRL.
In 2010, the U/17 competition grew again to include more clubs from over border, South Tweed, South tweed Seagulls, Bilambil, and Tugun Seahawks. The 2010 season also saw the introduction of a U/6 competition on the Gold Coast. The under 6 competition was the first competition in Queensland for this age group. This season also saw the introduction of limited interchange for Premier grades U/13 – U/17, as well as the introduction of the Kevvie Gordon Sprint to find fastest player in Gold Coast JRL and the Mike Vievers Cup to find the fastest Club in Gold Coast JRL. The winners were Brad Smith Runaway Bay and Fastest Club was Burleigh JRL.
Due to the continual growth of Rugby League in the junior division, in 2011 the GCDJRL employed two full-time “Sports and Recreation Coordinators” Ty Chapman and Eva Van Groningen. This was possible due to the QLD State Government “Jobs Plan” initiative. The role of the Sports and Recreation Coordinators is to assist the Gold Coast Cluster clubs in increasing participation and volunteer rates in Rugby League on the Gold Coast. Prior to the commencement of the 2011 season, Queensland Rugby League (QRL) appointed an “Education Development Officer”. Mr Jamie McCormack’s role is to provide educational pathways for players and volunteers. Courses include coaching, league safe and first aid.
In 2012, the progressive growth and image of Rugby League on the Gold Coast is set to continue. With this in sight, the GCJRL in partnership with the Gold Coast City Council welcomes the addition of the "Coomera Tigers Junior Rugby League" Club. Coomera Tigers will become a part of the norther cluster; and area with dramatic increases in Rugby League participation.
With the addition of our Sports and Recreation Coordinators, in 2012 the GCDJRL office has relocated to Firth Park, Mudgeeraba. These offices are now home to both Junior and Senior Rugby league governing bodies.
2012 also saw the introduction of a girls open rugby league competition. This competition catered to girls aged 14 - 17. Gold Coast Junior Rugby League looks forward to another successful year of rugby league for both male and female.