Rugby coaches, players awarded
Rewards for rugby greats at Waikato awards night
The Gallagher Waikato Rugby awards recognised people and teams that have made an outstanding contribution to Waikato rugby in 2018.
The evening at the Wintec Atrium covered the entire spectrum of the game including coaches, players, referees, volunteers and administrators from junior, school, club and representative levels.
Tireless Te Awamutu Sports Rugby Club board member Willie Berkers received the Gallagher Administrator of the Year award.
Peter Arndell, general manager of ASB Te Awamutu Rugby Sports & Recreation Club Inc, said the club is thrilled for Willie to receive this award for the time and dedication he commits to the senior rugby side of the club.
“Willie is driving a culture change through the committee, coaching and player ranks that can only help us in the future.
“He is a pleasure to be associated with and deserves the accolades received by the Waikato Rugby Union,” said Arndell.
“It’s always rather hard to receive an award like this when you are part of a committee or a team,” Berkers said, accepting the award.
“This award is very much a committee achievement but we will accept it with the same passion as it was given, enjoy the moment and then get on with what we do, and that’s run senior rugby at Te Awamutu Sports as the 2019 season is approaching fast.”
Berkers said the award does mean a lot to both him, as chairman of TA Sports Senior Rugby, and the club of which he is a board member.
“The award was received in recognition of the work we have done and are continuing to do within our committee, club and community and I think in the manner we are doing it, and that’s in a positive and solutions based way.
“As we all know club rugby is ‘grunting’ NZ wide and a couple of years ago we decided if we do not change what we do within our club and within our community we will always get what we have always had or worse.
“So we have set to, with a plan to make club rugby great again in Te Awamutu and hopefully at Te Awamutu Sports.
“And it starts with junior rugby and goes all the way through school rugby and onto senior rugby with its main focus on our home-grown boys and girls.
“But it doesn’t just stop there. We also need to connect with the community as we cannot do this alone and we want the mums and dads, grandmothers and grandads, sponsors and supporters and the whole town to also get excited about rugby in Te Awamutu again, because we are, and if we don’t we will lose it forever.”
Berkers said they live in a great town, have the best facilities of any club TA Sports ever plays against, but they do live a little close to Hamilton and have a lot of clubs in a close area.
“That’s a real challenge and we all have to solve that together.
“We need to focus on our home-grown boys and girls and give them the very best coaching, the very best facilities and the best opportunities we possibly can. We want to grow these players to their potential without having to leave our town to do it. And this all starts back behind the scenes in the clubrooms where myself and my amazing committee spend many hours trying to make all this happen.”
Willie Berkers receives the Waikato Rugby Union Administrator of the Year award from Gallagher sales manager, Justin Miller at Wintec Atrium. Watching is former Black Fern Honey Hireme who officiated as co-master of ceremonies with former All Black and Te Awamutu Sports back rower Steven Bates.