Just 3 days left until Christmas and in today’s “12 Days of Christmas” success story we are going to take a peek behind the scenes and have a look at all the people who work tirelessly to keep the Outlaws running.
🎄 The first person who deserves a mention is Leon Green. Leon founded the club back in 2015 to give young lads in the Rhondda the opportunity to play Rugby League. The club and all involved will forever be grateful that he had the vision to build something for us to inherit.
Next up it has to be our late Chairman, Clive Batchelor. Clive joined the Outlaws in 2017 and brought with him a vision for the future development of the club. It was Clive who established the culture of the club by instilling in it his values of integrity, respect and decency. His passion for Rugby League and his sheer hard work meant he put in place the foundations needed to allow the club to grow and flourish. The move to our own clubhouse, the introduction of a Woman’s team, the introduction of new age-grades and our eventual triumph as Welsh Champions all came off the back of those foundations. Sadly, Clive passed away suddenly in 2018. To honour him, the club renamed the Player of the Season award to the “Clive Batchelor Award”. This will ensure his legacy and everything he did for the club is never forgotten.
James ‘Buzz’ Allen also joined the club alongside Clive Batchelor. Buzz had played Rugby League for many years and was a former Wales Dragonhearts international. He worked alongside Clive and Gareth (who we’ll talk about shortly) to establish the new open-age men’s team. Buzz was appointed Head Coach which could well have been the hardest job in Rugby League at the time. He had only a few months to recruit players and then get them organised in to a team that could compete in the Welsh Premier. The task was especially difficult as the majority of the new players had never played Rugby League before so a lot of time was spent just teaching the basics. Over the past 3 seasons Buzz has taken that team from an horrific defeat at the hands of the then reigning champions Valley Cougars in our first ever match to being Welsh Champions themselves.
But Buzz isn’t just a coach. He’s involved in every aspect of the club from organising sponsorship, playing kit, building up the new teams, organising functions, etc. You name it, Buzz will have been involved in it. He also takes on many different coaching roles with Wales Rugby League and was assistant coach this year for the historic first test for Wales Women.
He’s even been known to throw his boots back on when needed!
Gareth Keirle joined the club at the same time as Clive and Buzz and has been an ever-present since. He was instrumental in getting the mens team up and running. Gareth has brought to the club a ‘just get it done’ attitude which has permeated throughout. He has been involved in all aspects of the club ever since his arrival and helps out with every aspect both behind the scenes and on match days. Many of you will know Gareth over the last two seasons as our in-match announcer and resident DJ who calls the teams and scores out during games as well as entertaining the fans with a bit of Tom Jones at half time. When not running around ensuring everything is running smoothly, he occasionally pulls his boots on to play for the mens team.
David ‘Dai’ Albertelli joined the club in 2017 as a player before also taking up responsibilities behind the scenes. He took over Team Manager responsibilities in 2018 and has been key to the continued growth of the club as he ensures all aspects of the running of the club are professional and properly organised. Dai fulfills many roles within the Outlaws; everything from player, team manager, physio, coach and general dogs body. He is also extremely active within Wales Rugby League doing many roles with different age-grades, Wales Women, Wales Students and Origin. Without Dai its hard to imagine how everything would have come together to ensure we were crowned Welsh Champions 2019.
Wayne Harrison is another player who has also taken on many back room roles. He is very involved in coaching throughout the club and works with all the teams from the men down to the U12s. He also a very active member of the management committee at the club and helps ensure things continue to progress. He recently won a Sport RCT volunteer of the month award from Rhondda Cynon Taf council in recognition of the hard work he puts in at the Outlaws and his Union Club (Glyfach Goch RFC).
Corey Phillips is another player who takes on many responsibilities behind the scenes. When he isn’t lacing up his boots at number nine you can guarantee he’s working hard to grow the club. He was instrumental in getting the U12s up and running and played a major part in their training and development last year. He’s usually the first person to turn up when needed and the last to leave. His zest for life and good humour ensure he’s a favourite character within the club.
Andy Reeves starting coming to watch the Outlaws when we first started and is now actively involved with the club. As well as being a primary sponsor he also helps out at all the training sessions and works the gate on match days.
Jamie Langmead fits volunteering at the club around his busy life as one of her majesty’s constabulary. Jamie has always helped out at the club and has covered multiple roles. He is currently our Women’s Team Manager and head of Player Welfare.
Caroline Howard is one of our newer volunteers and has been a huge help in running match days this season by running the gate and selling programmes.
Louise Isaac is both a player with our Women’s team and our men’s team physio. She has a great work ethic which sets a good example to the rest of the club.
Bryan & Andrea Griffiths haven’t missed a game since the club started and they follow us both home and away. With the move up to the new club house, Bryan has been helping get everything ready and is looking to take up a role on the Management Committee in the new year.
Ieuan ‘Pasty’ Griffiths embodies everything that is great about our club. He never misses a match, training session or meeting and is the first to put his hand up and volunteer when something is needed. As well as being a great player in the pack he also gets actively involved in coaching and is taking up the role of U14 Team Manager in the new year. Outside the club, if he isn’t playing he’s refereeing for Wales Rugby League at everything from kids to internationals.
Shaun Watton is a stalwart of the men’s team who has recently taken up a mentoring role within the club focusing specifically on the new Women’s team. Having gone from relative new comer in Rugby League to representative honours with Wales Dragonhearts in just 3 years he will set an example example to the Women about what can be achieved through hard work.
Tom Hale is another stalwart who has been a player with the mens team from the very beginning. He is always early on match days to assist the staff with getting things organised and has a real passion for the club. He too will be taking up a mentoring position with the Women’s team in the new year. Tom has a great knowledge of the game and can adapt to any position so will make a great teacher for the Women.
Rhodri Garland is another player who has been with the mens team since the beginning. Over the last couple of seasons he also become a primary shirt sponsor to help ensure the financial stability of the club and lends the club the PA equipment for home matches which allows us to have an announcer and provide entertainment. Outside of the club, Rhod has recently been called up for the WRU Wales Deaf squad which is something everyone at the club is extremely proud of.
Tom Harrison joined the club as a player in the open-age team whilst still only 17. Whilst not much older (at 18) he is already showing excellent leadership skills and is increasing his knowledge of Rugby League by getting involved in training of the junior grades.
Ieuan Harrison is our resident photographer for match days and has a great skill at really capturing the emotion of the game in his photographs as well as the action.