Rugby targets western Sydney for growth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rugby targets western Sydney for growth

11/08/2010 01:53:01 PM Comments (0)

Rugby union has moved to shore up its position in the hotly-contested sporting battleground of western Sydney with more financial support for the Penrith club.

The Australian Rugby Union and NSW Rugby Union committed an additional $40,000 in funding to the Emus on Wednesday.

The package is similar to that received by the Parramatta rugby club earlier this season which helped the Two Blues remain in the NSW Premier Rugby competition.

It comes amid fierce competition in the populous area for support and players from the other football codes, with rugby league dominant and both the AFL and A-League preparing to establish teams there.

"As a sport we acknowledge the importance of western Sydney and we're determined to build an even stronger rugby presence in the region," said ARU deputy chief executive Matt Carroll.

"Penrith has made advancements this season and Parramatta is working hard on and off the field to reignite the Two Blues.

"We see these funding measures as a support mechanism not only for the clubs involved but for the western Sydney area in general, to ensure there are pathways in place for local players as they make their way through the various levels of the game."

The Penrith rugby club has struggled in recent times but its five victories in 2010 equals its total from the previous two years.

"We've certainly had our struggles over the years but rugby is making real inroads out here and the funds are helping the code re-establish its roots in the west," said Penrith president Ian Hewitt.

"You only need to look at players like Tatafu Polota-Nau and Kurtley Beale to realise that western Sydney can produce some of the finest players in the world."

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