THE Illawarra Rugby League will enter 2019 with a new major partner, with Multi Civil and Rail (MCR) broadening it’s support of sport in the region.
MCR Director Gary Johnson said his organisation was excited to be involved in supporting grass roots rugby league in the Illawarra.
“We’re contributing towards the 2019 year and we certainly want to be a participant and support rugby league in the Illawarra,” Johnson said.
“The owners and directors are very happy to participate [in local sport] where we can and give back to the Illawarra.”
IDRL general manager Chris Bannerman said the support would go along way towards developing, not only senior competitions, but junior pathways in the region.
“It’s great to have a new partner, particularly one that’s a very successful organisation in this region,” Bannerman said.
“It costs a lot to run any sporting organisation and there’s significant costs in running competitions from seniors right down to juniors.
“We’re heading into 2019 with some new initiatives and, I think, a new era for the game locally and it’s great to have a local partner like Multi Civil and Rail on board.”
MCR will be the league’s major partner but have not sought naming rights for the competition.
“MCR will be the major partner but the competition will be known as the Illawarra Rugby League,” Bannerman said.
The agreement comes as league prepares to operate under a salary cap system for the first time in 2019.
“I have to give the clubs credit, they’ve been great,” Bannerman said.
“Everyone’s bought into it. There was a bit of an elephant in the room that we had to address and we’ve bitten the bullet. I know that the clubs who are likely to benefit from this seem to re-energised which is a great thing and it’s what we needed.
“We needed not just prosperity for our clubs but we needed sustainability and longevity for the clubs that don’t have as many financial resources as others.
“I do think one of the sides like Berkeley or Corrimal will make a jump. I’ve just got the sense that someone’s going to push into that top four that we haven’t seen for a while.”