15 Apr 2021 President’s Welcome
Dear Vikings Rugby Family
After a busy off-season and pre-season, the 2021 competition is at last upon us with Round 1 starting off this Saturday 17 April when we welcome the Queanbeyan Whites (and Goulburn Dirty Reds in 1st Division) to Viking Park. We especially welcome the Queanbeyan Whites newly formed Women’s team who re-join the competition after a long hiatus to battle with our up-and-coming young ViQueens side.
COVID -19 raged the world in 2020 and we certainly counted ourselves lucky that we were able to have a short and restricted rugby season at all. This year as positivity grows (albeit nervously), we are really excited to welcome crowds back to Viking Park to enjoy our rugby matches.
With great retention of players from 2020, we are pleasingly seeing a large influx of new players in 2021 to our Colts program, Women’s ViQueens team and Lower Grade squads. Welcome All!
What’s been happening around the club?
Generation Red and Juniors Gala Day
Our Gen Red program enters its second year and runs as a high-performance program for 5 squads of girls and boys in our Under 16 and Under 18 age groups. A lot of hard work from both our junior club and senior club staff and coaches go into this important building block for our future.
If you need a fix of junior rugby, our thriving junior club is hosting one of the biggest junior rugby gala days in the country, this Saturday 17 April at Gowrie playing fields. Almost 90 (yes 90) junior teams will converge on Gowrie as part of a festival of rugby matches from early Saturday morning throughout the day.
2021 Community, Charity and Member Support
MRP – We are again running a Modified Rugby Program as a connecting and inclusive program for children with learning and perceptual disability. This is an ongoing pleasure for our whole club to see faces light up with the thrill of playing rugby.
Lifeline and Win the Day – Our 2021 Charity partner is Lifeline Canberra, and we look forward to lots of opportunities to work with Lifeline in raising awareness as well as valuable funds for their crucial and lifesaving work. As an adjunct, we also look forward to assisting former ViQueen Kristy Giteau in raising funds for her families awesome Win the Day Charity. Please give generously to all initiatives.
Cross Cultural and Mental Health/Wellness programs – Our club takes great pride in the programs we offer our players and volunteers and this year there is a big focus on our cultural sensitivity and shared responsibility to check on our club mates. Our ‘Lean on Me’ program (with Lifeline) will help remove the stigma of mental health issues and keep a running check on how our people are travelling.
Life Members function – We look forward to catching up with approx. 15 of our Life Members this week to revel in old war stories and look for ways our broader alumni can stay connected to the club and help support this next generation of players.
The Zoo – I’m sure many/most of you have had a great function or fun night down the sports bar. Our current playing cohort haven’t been down the Zoo for over 18 months (due to COVID-19) and we look forward to initiating new players to the Redmen in the Zoo this weekend as well as a heap of our upcoming 2021 functions.
Ladies Day – Get excited for our 2021 Canberra BMW Ladies Day, where we thank all of our partners, mothers, daughters, sisters and female supporters. We will have amazing stalls, prizes, food, fun and bubbles on Saturday 1 May.
Sponsors Day – we have all our partner sponsors back in 2021 and many new sponsors on board. Close to 50 of our players have sponsors helping them with registration costs and supporting their journey – we really look forward to hosting all these crucial and generous partners at our Sponsors Day on 29 May at Viking Park.
I’m sure you will join me in congratulating eleven (11) Vikings players recently selected in national squads:
Remsy Lemiso, Tom Hooper and Pat Maka are part of the 2021 Junior Wallabies U20 squad;
Michela Leonard, Shelley Milward, Gabby Peterson and Tayla Stanford are part of the 2021 Wallaroos squad and
Noah Lolesio, Len Ikitau and new squad members Lachlan Lonnergan and Darcy Swain are part of the 2021 Wallabies squad.
These efforts highlight the outstanding ability and commitment of the individuals as well as the quality of our pathway programs and development at Vikings. Also hugely pleasing is that ALL of our contracted Brumbies players are regular attendees at our club training, helping with skills and drills, filling water bottles and supporting their club. Well Done!
Viking Park continues to evolve as a first-class community sporting venue. The surfaces of both fields are looking superb after successfully hosting Canberra United in the W-League over summer. We now have new and improved facilities at the Red Army canteen on the Eastern (club) side of the field and a new PA system booming music and score updates. Please ensure you use the QR codes to check into the Check In Canberra App, when you arrive at the Park.
In 2021, I also kindly remind all of our supporters to help us meet our usual high standards of spectator behaviour and be examples of positive and respectful barracking at all times. We can set the standard for others to follow and treat officials and opponents in the spirit of the game.
Stay tuned for the release of awesome supporter packs for juniors, women, and men (next week) that present great value or pop into the Red Army at Viking Park and see all the great kit already in stock at very reasonable prices.
If you can’t make it down this Saturday, please watch us on the Bar TV Live Stream and I hope to catch you for Ladies Day on 1 May or around the grounds as we launch into the 2021 season.
Brendan ‘Trendy’ Allardyce