Australian Police Rugby League Association

Australian Police Rugby League Association

The Australian Police Rugby League Association (APRLA) was a rugby league federation organised to administer the state police rugby league clubs. It was affiliated with the Australian Rugby League and regularly organized tournaments for the state associations.

In 2006, the ARL disaffiliated the APRL, to make way for a new governing body for Police Rugby League in Australia. The new body, known as Police Rugby League Australia (PRLA), currently has the Qld Police and NSW Police as it's members, and is working hard to bring all other Police Rugby League Associations under the one banner. The PRLA Australian team has contested the ARL's Affiliated States National Championships since 2005.

In November 2008, the PRLA will contest the Inaugural International Police Rugby League World Cup on the Sunshine Coast in Qld, from the 3rd to the 17th of November. It is anticipated that 8 teams will contest this event. For more information visit - [http://www.policerugbyleague.com.au [www.policerugbyleague.com.au]

National Championships

Victoria Police Rugby League Club

The Victoria Police Rugby League Club is a member of the APRLA representing that state police of Victoria.

History

Founded in Melbourne in 1999, the Victoria Police Rugby League Club (VPRLC) is the representative rugby league team for the state's police service. It was a founding member of the then Australian Police Rugby League Association (APRL) and the first team of its kind for Victoria. With a push by the stronger northern states of New South Wales and Queensland, the VPRLC played an integral role in helping to grow the game in developing states.

The club was also established to provide an opportunity for Victoria Police members to participate in the inaugural Australian Police Rugby League Championships on the Gold Coast in Queensland. The club, known as the "Vikings", was the brainchild of two men, Rob Sweetland and David Jamieson. Despite Rob being an aussie rules player and David a Gridiron and union player, both guys had a love of rugby league and shared the same desire to be a part of the effort to spread the game throughout the country. As a founding member of the APRL, the early days were a bit of an uphill battle, particularly for a club in a traditionally non-rugby state.

In that first year, with a fair amount of effort and planning, players from around the state came together to represent Victoria. The club secured the coaching services of kiwi Ray Daily, who was then coaching the Moorabbin Raiders in the Melbourne competition.

The initial training sessions were a bit of a struggle due to work commitments and the long travel times for many players (up to 3hrs). Only 5 players had league experience, a few more were union players and the rest were a combination of touch footy, soccer and aussie rules players keen to have a go. The team headed north to QLD in September '99 for the National titles, which were held at the Burleigh Bears home ground. Over 10 days, teams from around the country battled it out for the National Title, with NSW Metro beating QLD Metro in the final.

Despite their lack of experience and some serious injuries early on, the Vikings were competitive and earned the respect of the northern states. Although the team did not win on the field, they did win every off field 'social' activity! They also paved the way for the development of the sport in the emerging/developing states and helped unite the new association. The event received wide spread coverage in print media, including Rugby League Week and Rugby League World magazine and helped establish the reputation of Police footy in Australia.

At the completion of the 1st Championships, two Vikings players, Barry Randall and Phil Edge were selected in the Australian team to tour the USA and Russia the following month. Unfortunately the Russian leg of the tour was soon cancelled due to the ongoing civil unrest in the country.

In October '99, Barry & Phil travelled to the USA with the national team, playing against and defeating the USA Tomahawks, the East Coast All-stars and the Glenns Mills Bulls (USA premiers). They became the first Victoria Police members to play for Australia. Both players had an opportunity to work with the NYPD, the Port Authority and the Philadelphia Police. In 2000 Barry Randall took unpaid leave from the police force and returned to America as Captain/Coach of the New Jersey Sharks in the USA Superleague (now the AMNRL). Barry then went on to join Oxford in the English National Conference and then the London Bronco's in the English Super League.

Honours

Since its inception in '99 the club has participated in every National Championship and had several players selected in the Australian team and other invitational police teams, playing in Australia and overseas. Club committee members David Jamieson and Rob Sweetland along with trainer John Tait have also been involved with numerous rep sides and supported the VPRLC since it began. The Vikings also play in an annual match against the Federal Police as a curtain raiser to a Canberra Raiders National Rugby League game.

1999 - VPRLC formed to compete in National titles. Barry Randall & Phil edge tour the USA with the Australian team.

2000 - Phil Edge awarded the Police Sports Scholarship for outstanding contribution to Police Rugby league. Barry Randall becomes Captain/Coach of the NJ Sharks in the USA Superleague. Vikings join the Moorabbin Raiders to compete in the Melbourne competition.

2001 - John Hollis named best player at the National Titles in Darwin. John, Phil Edge, Graeme Simpfendorfer, Chris Henderson and Ray Causer named in the Australian team to tour New Zealand. Barry Randall joins the Oxford Cavaliers then the London Bronco's in the English Super League.

2002 - Melbourne and the VPRLC host the National Championships. John Hollis, Riki Maaka and Stefan Charila named in the Australian team to tour Morocco.

2003 - Barry Randall selected in invitational side to play against the Australian Universities team. Barry, John Hollis, Riki Maaka and Graeme Simpfendorfer selected in National team to play the USA Tomahawks in Sydney.

2004 - John Hollis named in Australian team to tour Argentina.

2005 - John Hollis, Barry Randall, Graeme Simpfendorfer, Ray Causer and Chris Henderson selected in National team to tour Cook Islands.

2006 - John Hollis, Graeme Simpfendorfer and Chris Henderson tour Fiji with National team. Michael Paterson named in Australian Police Rugby Union team to tour Great Britain in 2007. Michael earns the honour of being the 1st Victoria Police member to play in the Australian Union team. Barry Randall and John Hollis named on the Australian stand-by list.

Future Plans

At present there is a little uncertainty about the future direction of police rugby league. With a new governing body established in late 2006 with the support of the ARL, players and fans are still waiting to see what will happen. Due to the disbanding of the APRL, there was no National carnival in 2006.

It is hoped that in early 2008, there will be a developing states carnival, from which a rep side will be selected. This team will then compete in a 'Tri-series' against NSW and QLD to select the Australian team. The Vikings will also continue to be involved in rugby union events to build interest in both codes and support police footy in general.

The Vikings will also look to host the 2008 Australian Police Rugby Union Championships in Melbourne.

External links

* http://www.policerugbyleague.com.au
* http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=1-2121-0-0-0 (Victorian RL site)
* http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=7-2132-0-0-0&sID=21334
* http://www.2007wpfg.com
* http://www.anzpolicegames.asn.au
* http://www.nswpolicesport.com/2008Games.html
* http://www.oxfordcavaliersrlfc.com
* http://www.amnrl.com
* http://www.apru.com.au


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