We would like to express our gratitude to the rugby community and beyond for another successful year filled with rugby events.
This year, we introduced our Girls Academy, which aims to recruit and develop girls aged 13-18 with the necessary skills to compete in XVs. Despite some still participating in the U14s or Women's competition, these girls have shown tremendous growth in both confidence and ability. The feedback we have received from parents and coaches regarding the program has been highly rewarding. In response, we are considering enhancing the program in 2024 by incorporating a High Performance element.
Additionally, we initiated a regional roadshow where we delivered 7s programs to various communities in Naracoorte. This included visiting several Primary Schools in the region and organising a competition for seasonal workers. We would like to extend our gratitude to Teys Naracoorte, Lucindale Council, Limestone Multicultural Network, and the Australian Migrant Resource Centre for their support. We would also like to give special recognition to Micky Drugu, a current registered referee, who managed several 7s games over the weekend. We are looking forward to expanding this program in 2024.
During the 2023 Annual Awards Night, we celebrated the diversity of our community by inducting four females as Life Members of Rugby Union SA. Furthermore, Wheelchair Rugby honoured individuals who have made significant contributions to the game and challenged those in attendance to see people in wheelchairs not as individuals with disabilities but as individuals capable of doing things differently. We congratulate our four best and fairest winners - Zed Alford and Alex Fisher for jointly winning the U18 competition, Ana Ikahihifo for receiving the Edna Reilly Medal, and Save Ronavuso for being awarded the Don Smith Medallist.
Our Pathways Programs are continuing to expand thanks to the success of our P2P and Academy programs. In October, Daniel Londema, Marios Theodosi, Tyson Hazzard, and Mathias Antonio from the U16s were selected to participate in a Barbarians team in Queensland. Special mention also to Craig Basford, invited to be a coach within this program. Additionally, Yvonne Vuata, Grace Fitzsimmons, and Kezia Antonio were chosen to participate in the Super W Youth camp on the Gold Coast, also in October. Both the Black Falcon Men and Women teams assembled strong squads for the ARS Competition, which took place in Brisbane and performed admirably.
We would like to acknowledge the substantial support provided by our community of volunteers throughout the season and events. Despite being in an AFL-dominated state, we have demonstrated our ability to accomplish great things.
We would also like to acknowledge our principal partners and sponsors Hallett Group, Brockenchack Wines, Coopers, Vonex, Sports Centre and AMA Security for their support to of Rugby in South Australia.
Season 2024 promises to be a year filled with new opportunities, new learnings, new friendships, and new experiences. We will continue to work with our community to make the matchday experience great for all.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas break. Please note that our office will be closed from the 15th of December and will reopen on the 15th of January to commence preparations for the 2024 season.