Nominees for Rugby's 2012 National Volunteer of the Year

by staff

Australian Rugby Union today announced the eight nominees for the 2012 National Volunteer of the Year Award as part of this year’s National Volunteer Recognition Program.

Each year every State and Territory Rugby Union provide one nomination for the Award, with the winner announced at the annual John Eales Medal, which will be held next Thursday 1 November.

The award is determined by ARU’s Chairman Michael Hawker, Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill AO and General Manager of Community Rugby, Ian Alker.

The criteria used to select the National Volunteer of the Year include innovation and leadership, contribution of best practice principles and contribution to Rugby within their State or Territory.

ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, congratulated all of the candidates and thanked them for their dedication and commitment to Rugby.

“The eight nominees for 2012 are once again outstanding candidates and on behalf of Australian Rugby I thank them for their selfless contribution to the game,” Mr O’Neill said.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our game; they ensure our game stays strong in our communities and deserve our thanks and recognition.

“The eight nominees are a wonderful representation of all the volunteers in our game and I wish them the best of luck for the ultimate award, the Volunteer of the Year, next Thursday.”

This year’s nominees include Malcolm LeLay from the Northern Territory.

Mr LeLay has been actively committed to the Swampdogs Rugby Club as an Under 16s Coach, Committee Member and volunteer at fundraisers and Club activities.

He has also been instrumental in helping to raise funds for the Club’s development.

Queensland’s nominee, David Glover, has been a Rugby player for the past 30 years and made a strong commitment to Central Queensland’s Blackwater Rugby Club.

Mr Glover has been a committee member for 10 years, Treasurer and Vice President as well as a Coach and Team Manager for various Junior, Country and Schools Rugby teams.

Richard Haugh, from Victoria, has shown similar contributions at the Geelong Rugby Club where he helped in restructuring the junior Rugby Club.

He has also had a strong focus on providing transport, team kits and Sponsorship and has acted as a Ground Manager, Coach, committee member and secretary.

Over the past 19 years Mick Pini from the ACT has been dedicated to Rugby with significant achievements at the ACT Junior Rugby Union, ACT Schools Rugby Union and St Edmunds College.

Mr Pini has also worked as a Talent Identification volunteer for Australian Rugby Union.

For over 27 years, Lorraine Holman from NSW has been running the canteen at Parramatta’s Merrylands Rugby Club Ground for all Senior, Colts and Junior matches.

After commencing as an assistant, Ms Holman soon became the Manager and has since continued on long after her son’s playing days concluded.

Steve Sandford, from South Australia, has been dedicated to Rugby officiating for 20 years.

A Member of the South Australian Rugby Union Referees Society since 1995, Mr Sandford has refereed over 200 games and officiated at a number of State level, National and International events and tournaments.

For almost half a century Tasmanian volunteer, Collin Debnam has been involved in Rugby.

Since learning how to referee Rugby at the age of 17 years Mr Debnam, who is deaf, has dedicated 47 years to supporting all facets of Rugby in Tasmania.

Finally, Mark Badham from Western Australia has been dedicated to the Nedlands Rugby Club as a referee, grounds Marshall, tour leader and important mentor to Senior Players.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognises the importance of Rugby volunteers in communities across the nation highlighting how their dedication and commitment makes such a significant contribution to the game of Rugby in Australia.

The winner of the 2012 National Volunteer of the Year will be announced and presented at Rugby’s night of nights the John Eales Medal, next Thursday, 1 November at the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre.

All eight nominees will also be presented with a gift in recognition of their dedication and commitment to Rugby at the prestigious event.

The 2012 nominees are:

Mal LeLay


David Glover


Richard Haugh


Mick Pini

Brumbies Rugby

Lorraine Holman


Steve Sandford


Collin Debnam


Mark Badham