GIVING IT A TRY: Newly-appointed Sunraysia NRL Game Development officer, Henry Street, is excited about his new role.

By ADAM LUITJES

NEWLY-appointed Sunraysia NRL Game Development officer, Henry Street, believes he’s the right man to tackle the sport’s growth in the region.

Beginning last week, the 22-year-old replaced Martin O’Rourke, who accepted a position with NRL South Australia, after four years in Mildura.

Growing up playing Rugby League in Melbourne, Henry’s passion for the game led him to Alice Springs, where he worked part-time as a NRL Game Development officer.

Speaking to the Mildura Weekly on Monday, Henry said despite being thrown in the deep end, he’s enjoying his new role.

“It’s been full on, and I have been at Mildura Primary School every day,” Henry said. “I had a Gala Day last Wednesday, and went out to Robinvale for a Touch (rugby) referee’s course, so I have done a bit already.

“It’s alright though, it’s better to be busy, than not busy.”

Having previously refereed a number of Sunraysia Rugby League grand finals, Henry didn’t hesitate when the position became available.

“I thought Sunraysia was a similar landscape to Alice Springs, and it was a full-time position, which was a big perk,” he said. “It’s also closer to home, so it’s good to be back in Victoria.

“Sunraysia’s a lot bigger, so there are plenty more places to explore, and I am happy to be here.”

Having spent eight months promoting Rugby League in Alice Springs, Henry believes his recent experience holds him in good stead.

“That’s why I was so keen to get the job here, because I thought it was a similar set up,” he said. “While I was in Alice Springs we kicked some goals, and we started an Under 18s competition, and had our first ever primary school Gala Day.

“We had an increase of 20 percent juniors, so it was going ok, and it’s similar to here, it’s just a really sporty town.”

Overseeing the growth of Rugby League in Sunraysia, Henry said introducing a junior competition (Under 12s) was at the top of his agenda.

“From the NRL’s point of view, they have put a lot of money into the school programs for the last four or five years, so they want reward for their effort,” he said. “They want a junior competition to start, but for that to happen they need more commitment from the volunteers, because at the moment it’s the (Sunraysia Rugby League) committee doing all the work.

“Changing the structure, and getting a junior competition up and running are the main focusses short term, and then long term we want to see a sustainable growth from juniors through to First Grade.”