Legendary league camp cancelled
Auckland Rugby League (ARL) was forced to cancel a legendary training camp for the first time in 29 years due to damage caused by last week’s extreme weather.
ARL made the call to cancel its Junior Educational Training System (JETS) camp at the YMCA’s Camp Adair in Hunua on Wednesday last week, just two days out from the camp.
It had to act fast to alert the 80 teenagers registered that a JETS camp would not be happening in 2017.
Last week more than 200 parents and children on a school camp at Camp Adair were evacuated after they woke up to find their airbeds floating and flash flooding waist-high in some places.
ARL football manager Pat Carthy, who has been attending the camp since its inception in 1989, said the camp had seen plenty of rain in the past, but nothing that had forced them to cancel it entirely.
‘‘It’s extremely disappointing,’’ Carthy said.
‘‘You’ve got close to 100 boys who were extremely keen.
‘‘They are all disappointed, but they can understand. Like everyone, they have seen the pictures and there’s not a lot else you can do.’’
The camp, which is a staple on the Auckland Rugby League calendar, has in the past entertained rugby league legends such as Stacey Jones, Awen Guttenbeil, Monty Betham, Robbie Paul, and more recently, joint winner of the 2016 Dally M Medal, Jason Taumalolo.
The camp is designed to not only teach youngsters the practical skills involved with on-field performance, but also life skills needed off the pitch.
ARL football development officer James Pulehega said the impact of the camp on youngsters made the decision to cancel even more heartbreaking.
‘‘The camp has a historical and nostalgic meaning to it,’’ Pulehega said.
‘‘It’s a shame we won’t be able to deliver the programme this year, but the decision has been made to guarantee player and staff safety.’’
Despite the setback, ARL is confident the camp will return next year, especially considering this week’s weather is being labelled as a one in 100 year event.
As for Camp Adair, it has been reported that a repair bill of more than $500,000 may be in on the cards.
Budding youngsters hoping to attend Auckland Rugby League’s JETS training camp will now have to wait until next year.