The Bulldogs will soon announce the date and venue for their AGM. A large attendance of interested Rugby League followers is anticipated. Back in June, Club President, Adam Woodward, gave an undertaking to SC Group 7 that the Club would aim to field a First Grade in 2020, along with four lower grades.
This season by its own standards, the Club had a poor year in that it didn’t present one elimination fixture and in fact reached the Semi’s in only Under 18 League Tackle. Illawarra Division Women’s Under 18 League Milton Ulladulla Players Keele Browne and Meg Buchanan excelled in this Wollongong based competition. Browne was the leading try scorer and she dead heated with Buchanan as the Player of the Year. Joint Winners.
The last time Milton Ulladulla failed to play in First Grade was in 2001. Life Member Paul Love lead a Reserve Grade side that year and the Club reverted to First Grade in 2002. The Club won the First Grade competition in 2004 led by Justin Holbrook and Brett Cox. The Club, now at the crossroads, with the help of a five-year plan, can look to the future. With the growth of the local business community there are companies who have proven expertise in helping prepare and document such instruments and monitoring their implementation. The Club’s strengths include its geographic location- sufficiently distant from neighbouring Club’s to lose capable players to “poaching.”
The local Junior Club fielded three hundred and twenty players in 6-16 year age groups including Girls League Tag teams in five age groups. The Junior Club is by far the strongest in Group 7 south of Shellharbour. Milton Ulladulla and Districts is still in a growth phase and the Club is able to attract Major and Minor sponsors. A Strategic Plan would strengthen relationships with these supporters.
Lack of planning and proper governance in the recent past has led to reducing numbers of supporters and overload on the current office bearers. Players attitude to fundraising and other community fund raising has also been affected. The Club’s home ground, Bill Andriske Oval is the best playing surface in the Region. The facilities are dated and the position is under review continually by the Management Committee and assisted by the Council. A DA is approved to erect a Multi-Purpose Community building on the site which includes removal of the existing buildings etc.
The DA has seven more years of life and the Club are yet to gain the financial support of local, state and federal governments. At the outset, there was a large amount of “in kind’ support offered by local businesses and followers. In the meantime, improvements to seating are expected to be ready for the 2020 season. In adequate levels of proper funding by governing bodies such as the ARLC and CRL have been restrictive. Present indications are that the Club is in a liquid financial position.
The loss of Batemans Bay Club to the Group 16 competition a few years ago had adverse effects. The Bay was the Club’s nearest round trip and vice versa. This loss ended a lifetime of rivalry and tribalism between the two communities. Matches between the two Clubs were always sell outs. South Coast Group 7’s policy to draw the competition around its Reserve Grade competition takes away from the competitiveness of the First-Grade competition and the status of the First Grade Clubs. Most First Grade Clubs are foundation Clubs. Group 7’s policy probably increases the involvement of individuals, increasing the KPI’s of employees, but lowering the attractiveness of the code.
Over recent years, Milton Ulladulla Club has played Away games at various different venues, sometimes over two days and has rarely had a full round of Home games (five) for its loyal supporters. Breaking the Club up on such occasions brings about a logistic nightmare. Fellowship and success of fundraising socials are also dampened by the lack of a “Home and Away Draw”. Many local sports lovers miss the full reports on Rugby League in the local media and many of the elderly do not have access to social media.
Roll on 2020
Former local Juniors Jack Murchie and Blake Phillips are continuing to have success in elimination games with Mounties, Raiders Feeder Club and Collegians in the Illawarra League respectively. Blake Phillips captained his side to victory in the Illawarra League. Justin Holbrook, the new Titans 2020 Coach has finished the 2019 with his charges St.Helens in the UK undefeated at home.
A Bulldogs former President, Alan McLaren after a recent episode with his health is on the improve and supporters of the Dogs hope to see more of him soon. A bout of sadness had befallen the Turnbull family in recent times. Well-known local identity Zilma Turnbull passed on with a huge funeral service held at St. Marks Anglican Church Ulladulla. Zilma was predeceased by her husband Sid a few years earlier. Sid was a Life Member of the Bulldogs along with son John and daughter Rhonda Evans.
Equally saddening was the passing of Grant Evans, son of Rhonda and husband Bob Evans. Grant’s funeral was held at Mollymook Surf Club. Grant was a third generation Bulldog and headed a long list of Bulldog winners of the Kevin Walsh Memorial Award. All will be remembered for their contribution to the local community.
Photo includes Back – Norm Shepherd, Sid Turnbull, Percy Jones (Coach), Dickie Jones, Ken Rice, Arthur Bunt, Jack Jones, “Doughy’ Millard President. Second Row – Ted Lewis, Jack Ingold, Fred Pascoe, Frank Brindle, Warren Millard, Don Bodel. Front – Jim Proctor, Mervyn Millard, Joey Bartlett, Lloyd Millard, Ernie Millard. Ted Lewis and Tom Brook are the only surviving players. Tom Brook suspended at the time, does not appear in this pic.