Every year, through our Community Partnership Program, Regional Australia Bank enables members to directly support the local groups that play such a vital role in our communities.
One of those groups is Scone Thoroughbreds, which for more than 100 years has played a pivotal role in the Scone community.
A Rugby League Legacy of Community and Development
Rugby league has been a staple of regional NSW life for as long as any of us can remember – and for more than 100 years, rugby league has dominated life in Scone.
Today, the Scone Thoroughbreds are one of the most successful teams in country rugby league. The club competes in Group 21, has claimed – to date – 31 first-grade premierships, 16 reserve grade, one second-division, 16 under-18s and six ladies league tag titles, after the women’s team was introduced in 2015.
With such a long history in the town, situated in the Upper Hunter Valley, it’s unsurprising the club plays a key role in the community.
A loyal band of supporters cheer on the teams home and away, while the club plays a hugely important role for the town’s youngsters, offering coaching from an early age and a pathway into not only the Scone senior teams, but elite rugby league competitions, too.
“The club has developed many juniors into the senior ranks and has an admirable number which have gone on to play in the NRL or similar competitions overseas,” says David Casson, the secretary of Scone Thoroughbreds.
Thoroughbreds players who went on to play top-level football include David Adams (Manly, Balmain), Darren Albert (Newcastle, Cronulla, St Helens), Kyle Warren (North Queensland, Castleford), Mick Tilse (North Sydney, Canberra), John Morris (Newcastle, Parramatta, Wests, Cronulla), Todd Lowrie (Newcastle, Parramatta, Melbourne, Auckland, Brisbane), Dane Tilse (Newcastle, Hull and Canberra) and Adam Clydsdale (Newcastle, Canberra, Cronulla). Today, Wigan Warriors’ Cade Cust and the Bronco’s Jock Madden are two Scone graduates playing their football at the top level.
Further back, Rees Duncan, local legend Don "Bandy" Adams (who has had the grandstand at Scone Park named in his honour) and Noel Cleal (who played with brother Les in the 1979 team) are all remembered fondly.
That junior side of the club is hugely important, and developing those youngsters is a key focus – both for the club and the community.
“Our junior players are regularly our ‘ball kids’ for our senior games, and our senior coach ensures that the ‘older’ juniors are part of our early training sessions so they are more comfortable with their future transition to the senior club,” says Casson.
“This is all part of strengthening our club’s ‘base’ and ensuring we continue to have the younger players step up into the senior ranks.
“We have high expectations for our players both on and off the field and in generally promoting our club spirit, which has developed over the last 100 years.”
The focal point of a community
A The club relies heavily on volunteers from the local community, and it’s imperative for the club to raise funds, from sponsorship as well as donations, wherever it’s possible to do so.
“Senior rugby league is semi-professional for those playing first grade,” explains David.
“While this aspect is not as important for Scone players generally – it still means that we need to raise funds wherever practicable.
“We have quite significant ‘bills’ to pay at the end of the year in this regard, and the more successful your club, the higher the cost in payments tends to be, as this is based on winning games – our first grade was undefeated this year!”
A lot of that sponsorship, which is so essential for the club’s continuation, comes from local businesses – and the Thoroughbreds reciprocate the goodwill, promoting and supporting sponsors whenever possible.
As with many local sporting clubs, facilities sometimes leave something to be desired, and David says Scone Park is in desperate need of a new grandstand and changing rooms – particularly with the increasing participation of female players – as well as canteen facilities.
“Ideally, we need facilities that not only meet our needs but also reflect our success over many years. This is a multi-million dollar project, and we will be looking to gain significant government support to fund the build,” explains David.
Regional Australia Bank is a proud supporter of Scone Thoroughbreds, and as well as contributing to ongoing costs, the support the club receives through the Community Partnerships Program will be used to meet the costs of preparing the grant application for facility funding.
Our sports clubs are a fundamental part of life in towns and cities across regional NSW, and Regional Australia Bank is proud to support such an established component of the community.