'Plumb job' relocates matches
Southland business Provincial Drainage has stumped up cash to get rugby league played in Invercargill's premier outdoor sporting venue, Rugby Park, this season.
Southland District Rugby League had resigned itself to hosting its club final and home games for the Southland Rams at its Elles Rd ground or at the rugby league fields at Sandy Point.
It had originally pushed to get the fixtures on Rugby Park but could not afford the required $2000 per fixture hire fee.
Cue Provincial Drainage owner David Reynolds, who came to the rescue. League president Nic Brady works for the firm and Reynolds decided to step in.
"For us it's about local support more than anything else," Reynolds said.
Reynolds hoped the gesture to help get the games played on Rugby Park would encourage the league in its attempt to grow the sport.
"They've been stuck away out at [Sandy Point] and, to get into a more high-profile venue, it's going to attract a lot more people," he said.
Southland District Rugby League survives on its annual $40,000 grant which comes from the Invercargill Licensing Trust and the ILT Foundation.
Brady said it was originally decided not to tap into that funding to play games at Rugby Park.
But the introduction of private sponsorship had changed the situation.
He said they wanted to make a spectacle of the final and the prospect of playing it at Rugby Park would help to build that hype.
"At the grand final, we want to play the under-17s beforehand and have a mini-mod [juniors] game at halftime, just make it a real entertaining day. We're going to try put it on, I want to make it a real good grand final," Brady said yesterday.
With the funding now in place, the league will work with stadium owners the Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust and main tennants Rugby Southland around scheduling the rugby league fixtures at Rugby Park.
Brady said the league was also working towards having a private naming-rights sponsor for the Rams for the first time this season.
The Rams will play in the South Island provincial competition against Otago, Canterbury A, Canterbury under-20s, West Coast and Tasman.
- © Fairfax NZ News