The old saying “progress isn’t possible without change” fits perfectly when it comes to the Hornsby Lions Rugby Club.
Formerly playing in the Sydney Suburban Rugby competition, the club took a radical step and moved competitions to join the prestigious Central Coast Rugby Competition two years ago.
The move has undoubtedly challenged the players, with on-field performances seeing mixed results and the standard of play always uncompromising.
Off the field the club has grown in leaps and bounds, with a bigger fan base, and the move has ultimately placed the club in a stronger position to progress to the next level.
Being such a historic and successful rugby club – it was established in 1962 – the pack of Lions must have an alpha male to lead the way and guide the pack around the jungle of Central Coast rugby. That leader is Tim Burns, Club President.
When asked why the Club chose to make such a dramatic shift in competitions, Tim said: “It’s very simple – we wanted to move to a competition of a great standard, run and played with country hospitality, with a clear pathway to representative rugby. All within a short drive of Hornsby.
“One of the really good things about playing in the Central Coast Rugby competition is that it makes Hornsby Rugby players eligible for NSW country selection.”
Now in a country division, Tim hopes that one day the Lions, which has 13 junior sides and three senior sides ranging from third to first grade – will produce a player with the talent to go along that pathway to professional rugby, and be their very own king of the jungle.
Always community-minded, the club likes to match their on-field work with off-field events, including the annual ‘back to Hornsby day’, a significant and emotional day on the calendar when the Club remembers former Hornsby Rugby player Andrew Warner who tragically passed away from an injury sustained from playing rugby.
Tim said: “We love to remember Andy for the guy that he was, with the matches on the day fiercely contested in his honour, followed by some heartfelt speeches post match.”
The club also runs a Ladies Day. The club believes that the support of the women associated with Hornsby Rugby is a key part of the club’s success. Women’s participation at Hornsby Rugby doesn’t stop off the field – after the recent success of the Australian Women’s National Rugby Sevens team at the Olympics, Hornsby Rugby have fielded a number of enquiries from local women interested in playing.
Tim’s response to women who are keen to chuck on the boots and show the men how it’s done is “an overwhelming yes!”. The club has established a Women’s Sevens side who’ve been training hard and impressing on the field. “We’d really love to see more women playing sevens rugby at Hornsby, it’s a landmark move for the club and we want women to be a part of it.”
Rugby is a sport for everyone no matter what gender, race, size or skill level. “Rugby is a sport that needs to be more respected and Hornsby Rugby Club is doing everything in their ability to make sure that ‘the game they play in heaven’ is the game for everyone on earth.”
_____________________________________________________________________Brock Lyon is a Year 12 student keen to become a sports journalist. This is his second article for the Monthly Chronicle.