THE RYDGES POST
Rydges helps Eagles soar on and off the field...
Rydges Hotels and Resorts in Cairns adds a new and significant partnership to its existing community engagements with an announcement this week it is naming rights sponsor of the newly formed Eagles Junior AFL club. In its maiden year the Eagles are participating in both under 15 and under 17 and a half year competitions. As the teams approach hosting their first home game on Sunday, 3 May the under 15s are undefeated in five games and the under 17s won their first game last week.
The newly formed Eagles Club based at Buchan Street in Cairns provides an opportunity for students residing at AFL Cape York House to engage in the local AFL competitions. AFL Cape York Program Manager, Rick Hanlon said they are overwhelmed by the success of the program to date which currently has 38 students boarding full time at the House in Bungalow. Representing some 15 different communities across the Torres Strait, Cape York Peninsula and Gulf the students were all required to apply for a position to live at the house which is also home to their training ground. AFL Cape York House is funded under the Queensland and Australian Government’s Employment Related Accommodation Program and was constructed in partnership with the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works.
According to Rick sport is not the focus of Cape York House. “Education and social development is our priority. At present, all of our students attend one of seven partnership schools in Cairns. Last year we had two boys graduate secondary school, one of whom is now attending university in Townsville studying physiotherapy. This year will see a further five graduate and this makes us very proud.”
Rick said the Eagles train twice weekly under coach Kane Richter (former North Cairns AFL) and is looking forward to the club’s first home game on their ground just after Easter. “Next year we aim to extend our program further to reach capacity with 48 students and introduce an under 13 team to cover all AFL junior competitions.”
Matthew Hurley, Area General Manager for Rydges Hotels and Resorts in Cairns said this latest partnership is one he feels particularly passionate about.
“I am really looking forward to working with Rick Hanlon, his team and the boys to accelerate this program to its full potential. As a group, Rydges will be not only assisting their endeavours on the field, but also off the field with plans to provide the students with work experience while assisting the day to day running of Cape York House from an operational point of view. Rydges has long supported AFL in Cairns at both a junior and senior level and supporting the newest junior club is very exciting.”
Cementing Rydges commitment to community and particularly youth in sport, this partnership adds to existing sponsorships with Peninsula Sport, FNQ Rugby, AFL Cairns and the Cubs Baseball. Other corporate partnerships include Cairns Show Association, Cairns Festival and Connect with Cambodia.
Photo: From left, Zarlee Woolla (under 15), Matthew Hurley, Area General Manager, Rydges Hotels and Resorts North Queensland, President of Rydges Eagles), Glendon Woosup (under 17) Kane Richter, Head Coach AFL Cape York House and Denzel Yunkaporta (under 15)