Having gone without a league team for 12 years the Goolgowi community was elated last year by the arrival of the ProTen Cup and the return of the Rabbitohs.
With hundreds of spectators attending the matches, Goolgowi’s appreciation of the new six-team Group 17 competition was made known to Carrathool on Australia Day.
Carrathool Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year title went to Cup treasurer and director Geoff Hale.
Mr Hale is a NSW RFS captain.
He was also responsible for organising Goolgowi mixed touch which started in January last year.
Last year Mr Hale was also integral in organising annual six-aside games for cricket, beach volleyball and tennis doubles.
Mr Hale said the support and excitement from the club personnel in Goolgowi, Rankins Springs, Hillston, Ivanhoe, Narrandera and Barellan made organising the ProTen Cup a pleasure.
“All the representatives of the cups were really keen to get it off the ground and it was an instant success, round one this year will kick off on May 25 in Ivanhoe,” Mr Hale said.
“The time frame was the trickiest part, we didn't have approval from Country Rugby League until mid February so we didn't have a lot of time to get it up and running but we made it.
“There was a lot of effort from community members in all those towns so we were able to kick it off in may that year,” Mr Hale said.
The ProTen Cup itself was also nominated for Carrathool Shire’s Event of the Year titile for 2018 with Goolgowi having made it to the grand final, losing out to Hillston.
Meanwhile Mr Hale’s son Billy Hale was awarded the title of Sportsperson of the Year for his achievements as a back for the Rabbitohs.
“I had no idea that he would win that,” Mr Hale said.
“He was one of many who never had the opportunity to play for their home town so many guys now get the chance to put on their home colors and play.”
For his efforts last year Billy was awarded the title of equal best back alongside teammate Chris Condon.
“John Michael Cahill and Alex Brown were our coaches they were awesome throughout the year,” Billy said.
“Jeremy Young got best forward with Ben McRae and Chris Condon and I got equal best back.
“A lot of these blokes didn't get to play for the Rabbitohs before 2018.
“They were really excited to play for their hometown and put their colors on, for most of them it was their father or someone in their family who had played before,” Billy said.
Going into 2019 Billy said Hillston will be the benchmark to be set for Goolgowi.
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