2021 was a pivotal year for Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union and the growth of the game in the region, in a season which would be cut short by the recent lockdown.
After completing the 15-round home and away season, the minor premierships were awarded for season 2021.
The Coffs Harbour Snappers took out the Women’s 10s and under 18’s minor premierships, while the Southern Cross University Marlins were awarded the under 14s minor premiership.
MNC Rugby Union had 1609 registered participants in Senior Rugby across its 12 Clubs, while Mid North Coast Juniors kept going from strength to strength with 1371 registered participants.
Competitions in Under 8s, 10s and 12s plus Girls Under 15s and 17s in both Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie on Friday nights were rightly regarded as the best junior comps in the State.
Six clubs contesting Under 14s, 16s and 18s on Saturdays, home and away with the senior clubs, is another state leader.
MNC Rugby Union also welcomed a new junior club, the BDC Barracudas, and they hope to increase their participation next season.
Women’s rugby really came to the fore in 2021.
Eight women’s clubs took part in the 10s Rugby with the Coffs Harbour Snappers and Wauchope Thunder remaining undefeated in their respective competitions.
One of the major highlights of 2021 was Coffs Harbour hosting the National Super W Championships which showcased the best female players in Australia.
Former Coffs Harbour Snappers players Brianna Hoy and Kaitlan Leaney proudly represented the NSW Waratahs in front of their home fans at the Ce.x Coffs International Stadium.
Five Mid North Coast women were also selected in the NSW Country Corellas; Greta Smith, Naomi George, Danielle Buttsworth, Taleah Waitoa, Lauren Nott.
SCU Marlins captain AJ Gilbert was another local player selected for representative duties as part of the Country Cookatoos.
Mid North Coast representative sides fared well at the Country Championships, with the Axemen winning the Richardson Shield and the women’s team finishing fourth.
A number of the region’s junior players were selected for rep duties at the Country Championships.
MNC Rugby Union Executive Officer Bruce Worboys thanked those involved in making the 2021 season so successful.
“Planning for the 2022 season has already begun, and the Zone relies heavily on a wonderful group of volunteers and thank them for their commitment and passion, enjoy the off-season,” he said.