The Mercury is looking to promote Illawarra and South Coast junior sporting clubs in the My Sporting Club feature as part of our weekly Junior Sport liftout. The profiles will cover as many sports as possible and focus on one club per week. This week we are featuring the history and achievements of the Wollongong Vikings Junior Rugby Club. If you would like your club to be featured leave your details at our Junior Sport email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Do you know the year the WOLLONGONG VIKINGS JUNIOR RUGBY CLUB was formed:
A: Vikings seniors first took the field way back in 1958, with the first junior Blueys team – an under 18s – representing the club in 1975. It wasn’t until the early 1980s when the club started to field teams in the younger age groups.
Q: What competition does your club play in: How many teams/juniors are part of your sporting club:
A: Our juniors play in the Illawarra District Junior Rugby Union which stretches from Campbelltown to Bowral to the Shoalhaven. Vikings juniors field teams from under sevens to under 17s.
Q: What is your club’s nickname or motto:
A: We are the Vikings, the Mighty Blueys, the Blues. Our mottos are ‘’brave and bold and blue’’ and ‘’win or lose it’s up the Blues’’.
Q: Please tell us about the philosophy or principals that define VIKINGS.
A: Vikings promote a Family Club philosophy from the time you start juniors through to progression to grade football. We are an amateur club and therefore rely on the selfless toil and sacrifice of volunteers and the generous support of our sponsors to keep our ship afloat.
Q: Please tell us what you believe is the greatest sporting achievement of your club. It may be something recent or in the past:
A: Whilst we have enjoyed much success on the field and are the most successful club in Illawarra Rugby history in terms of premierships and club championships, our greatest achievement was the opening of our home ground in 1977 and clubhouse a few years later. This facility was built on top of an old builders’ tip and swamp land between the Wollongong golf links and JJ Kelly Park. We will forever honour and remember our forefathers who had the vision and passion to overcome many obstacles and devote much blood, sweat and tears – not too forget money and materials - to provide our club with a place we can all proudly call home.
Q: Do the Vikings have any famous juniors or members who have achieved success as seniors:
A: We have had many players who have gone on to bigger and better things at both junior and senior representative level – too numerous to mention – but we also have a proud history of holding onto our players due to the fact our senior rugby program is so successful.
Q: What are the goals of your club. They can be either short-term or long-term.
A: Our long-term goal is to promote a healthy environment for our juniors to learn and play the great game of rugby, and prepare them for the transition to grade football. We find that the lure of playing grade football in a sky blue jumper is the greatest motivation of all Testimont to this is the fact we have four players who have played over 400 grade games each in the Mighty Blue, nine who have played 300 games and 36 double centurions.
In the short-term our goals are football-related and are to always win the junior and senior club championships, and to give ourselves the best possible chance each year of challenging for premierships in both the juniors and seniors.
Q: Does VIKINGS have a major junior sporting rival or a particular game each season which is special:
A: Traditionally our greatest rival was Kiama in the senior grades in the 1960s and 1970s but that has been well-and-truly been surpassed by our rivalry – in both juniors and seniors - with the Woonona Shamrocks. Our games against Shammies always have some of that extra feeling.
We are also conscious of the fact that Vikings is a club against which all other clubs tend to measure their own performance and against which other clubs most like to win. We understand this feeling on their part and accept the challenge with pride. In the true spirit of rugby, we also value our friendships with all the other clubs.
Q: Are you still looking for players for next season. If so how do people get in touch about joining up:
A: We would always warmly invite any new players to the club in any age group, in particular this year we would like to get some more under 7s and 8s and under 13s if some would like to join.
Q: If you have anything to add about your club please do so:
At the moment we have a special program running called Come and Try Rugby it is for kids aged 6-13. It is over the next to Friday afternoons being the 1st and 8th of March, anyone can come down for free, see what rugby is all about. Playing in some fun games, winning prizes and learning about the game. At which point they can sign up for the rest of the season if they would like too. This year is going to be ever bigger and better for the Vikings so if you want to play rugby remember its “Your Rugby Club”.