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Marist Rugby League Club: small but mighty

Marist Rugby League Club boasts of being small but mighty.

Founded in 1919, Marist is one of Auckland’s oldest rugby league clubs and is home to the Marist Saints. The premier men’s team is always fiercely competitive in the Fox Memorial Premiership. Women’s rugby league has also taken off recently, with the women’s premier team enjoying a successful season.

The club is justifiably proud of the achievements of its senior teams. However, their reputation as a family-friendly club is even more important.

‘Our kaupapa is to empower our members from 4 to 74 to be active in a fun, safe and friendly environment,’ explains chairperson Victoria Malone.

According to Victoria, family is a huge part of what makes Marist such a great club. Often several generations of whānau run out each week. 'We provide a space where all our members can play at their level, whether beginner or high-performance,' says Victoria.

And whānau also play a massive role behind the scenes. From coaching, managing and refereeing, a whole army of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly off the field. Victoria reports that Marist Rugby League Club provides many opportunities for volunteers to develop their skills and knowledge.

The club also has a strong track record in junior development. Legendary names that began their playing careers at Marist include Kiwis Jerome Ropati, Motu Tony and, of course, the one and only Sonny Bill Williams. This season alone, 15 youngsters were snapped up by big-name Australian clubs, including Deine Mariner, who made his debut for the Brisbane Broncos.

Resources are always tight in small volunteer clubs like Marist. ‘We make do with what we have,’ says Victoria.

However, a successful application to the Your West Support Fund has given Marist a welcome cash injection of $5,000. Victoria says the funding has gone towards upgrading gear bags and providing training equipment like balls, cones and poles.

‘Our girls’ teams are delighted with their new medical kit bags,’ declares Victoria. She says that until now, they made do with hand-me-down items from other teams. ‘Having brand new supplies makes them feel valued and boosts team morale,’ she reports.

Marist Rugby League is based at Murray Halberg Park, Rangeview Road, Mount Albert. It may be the off-season, but the club is already planning to hit the ground running. Musters and pre-season training are in the pipeline. If you’d like to be involved in this family-friendly, fun club, get in touch for all the details.