The Wests Devils Football Club and Wests Illawarra Cricket Club are preparing to celebrate their 70th anniversary on February 16.
An anniversary dinner is planned at Wests Illawarra to acknowledge how since being established in 1949 the two clubs have actively developed and fostered young Illawarra sporting talent.
The dinner will also look back on their proud record of winning premierships, titles and championships.
The Illawarra community will also be thanked for its unwavering support.
Wests Devils alumni and former Australian professional rugby league footballer and coach John Dorahy congratulated Wests Devils, Wests Cricket Club and the Aster Group for planning the celebration.
Dorahy played as a Wests Devils junior from 1966 to 1971 as well as first grade from 1971 to 1973 and again in 1986.
“Wests Devils had the most profound and wonderful impact on my life, both as a Rugby League player and as a person,” he said.
“It taught me how to have respect, admiration, humbleness and how to work hard.
“But most of all, the club taught me the importance of the institution, being a member of a club and giving back to others and the community.”
As fullback for Wests Devils he helped lead the Club to a premiership win in the Illawarra competition in 1971 and 1972.
He was selected to represent NSW Country in 1972 and 1973 before moving to England.
He returned to Australia to play NRL football at Wests (Sydney) and Manly Sea Eagles before captaining the Illawarra Steelers and North Sydney Bears. He also played for the Australian test side in 1978 and for NSW in 1979.
He has never forgotten how his representative career followed on from the opportunity he was given at Wests Devils Football Club which he said had done much for the community.
“The club was raised on the premise of providing young people the chance to play their chosen sport, while fostering their talents through coaching and management,” he said.
“The committee persons and volunteers are the backbone of the community as they devote their time and effort for the benefit of those who represent the club. It has always been a terrific channel to senior rugby league with a superb junior system for those aspiring to reach the next level. Wests Devils was and still is a pillar of strength in the community”.
Aster Group chief executive Daniel Munk said the 70th anniversary is a significant Illawarra milestone that deserves to be celebrated.
“The Wests Devils Football Club and Wests Illawarra Cricket Club have been long-standing fixtures in the Illawarra community, nurturing young sporting talent and region representatives, whilst facilitating healthy community engagement and comradery.
Mr Munk encouraged the Illawarra community and supporters of the two clubs to join in the celebration on February 16.