Eastwood Rugby’s General Manager Robert Frost said the planned premier rugby union facility will benefit the club and The Hills.
“We’re certainly hoping to be there as soon as possible… hopefully that’s next year,” said Frost, after wet weather and Covid delayed their move to Castle Hill. Our members are excited by the move, tinged of course with some sadness but since the majority of our membership and our players are from the Hills, this is more a move to be closer to where they live.”
The Hills Shire Council’s masterplan includes a premier facility for Eastwood Rugby, which it said is a pathway to elite rugby for much of north and north western Sydney up to Wiseman’s Ferry. The move has the support of Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW.
The reserve boasts of six playing fields for football, cricket, baseball, a BMX track plus basketball and tennis courts. Two tennis courts and four hot shot courts will be added plus upgrades to fields, car parks and spectator facilities.
On the vocal opposition to the move, Frost said: “As you know, the Hills Shire Council formally adopted a Master Plan for Fred Cater son in 2020. Eastwood Rugby’s involvement is a result of the council advertising for a partner to help deliver the rugby union facility.
“We can’t speak for the council obviously but I note that council has publicly addressed this issue a number of times stressing that all development will be subject to normal planning controls.”
Frost said Castle Hill and North West Sydney are massive growth areas and the Woodies are hopeful their presence will encourage growth in the game – not only in their club but in all the other clubs in the region.
Frost said they are excited to support a new junior rugby club at Box Hill, adding their development manager visits local schools and junior clubs in a bid to increase the number of females playing rugby.
“We run the NSW Rugby Waratahs Western Rugby Academy for aspiring young athletes,” Frost said. “We are very keen to ensure there is a pathway for young elite athletes which doesn’t require them to relocate in order to progress. So, you can see that we are very active in the Hills already and this will only increase in years to come.
“For many years, players from North West Sydney have chosen to play at our club. We play in the highest level of club competition in NSW. Many of our players progress to professional rugby players – for example, newly-capped Wallaby Mark Nawaqanitawase. We also have two players in the Australian men’s sevens team, both of whom are local Castle Hill boys.”
“It’s important the region has a successful cub representing it in the premier rugby competition. Eastwood have been premiers of Sydney rugby six times in the past 20 years and grand finalists in three more. Our successful profile will be a drawcard for athletes for decades to come.