Rugby league centre of excellence: new facility will promote next generation of stars

 NSWRL chairman Dr George Peponis, NSW interstate player Corban McGregor, UNE chancellor James Harris, Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres and league legend Brad Fittler.
NSWRL chairman Dr George Peponis, NSW interstate player Corban McGregor, UNE chancellor James Harris, Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres and league legend Brad Fittler.

The region’s most promising rugby league players will soon have the chance to access an elite training facility, following the news that construction is underway on the New South Wales Rugby League Centre of Excellence at Sydney OIympic Park.

The Centre of Excellence’s facilities will feature a full-size training field, a gymnasium, player-recovery facilities and a lecture theatre.

“The centre is a welcome addition to a thriving sports precinct at Sydney Olympic Park, to be built right across from ANZ Stadium,” Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said.

NSWRL chairman Dr George Peponis said the NSWRL Centre of Excellence would be one of the “most sophisticated” high-performance facilities in Australia. 

“Everyone in the NSWRL family will benefit from being able to use the facility, as well as the specialist sports grounds in the precinct,” he said. 

The Centre of Excellence is funded by the NSW Government and the NRL. It is scheduled to open in late 2018. The laying of the centre’s foundation stone was carried out on Wednesday.

NSWRL named the University of New England as its “preferred” education provider, signing an agreement to partner with UNE’s “world-class exercise and sports science researchers” in the development of high-performance sports programs and educational opportunities across NSW.

As part of the relationship, UNE will build a sports science teaching and research laboratory within the upcoming NSW Rugby League Centre of Excellence at Sydney Olympic Park – “providing a hub for learning and discovery” in the heart of the state’s premier sports precinct. 

Harris said the partnership “presents an innovative way to expand the footprint of UNE across Western Sydney” and to provide “unique and inspiring opportunities” for the university’s sport and exercise science program.

“Importantly, the profile of NSW Rugby League provides a significant platform to promote the offerings of UNE to a large audience,” he said.

“Our education is available to everyone, wherever they are, and this partnership will allow us to connect with people involved in grassroots rugby league in every town in NSW.”