Port Macquarie Pirates Rugby Club was formed in 1974, back when Port Macquarie was considered a tiny holiday town. At that time rugby had not been played in the region since before World War One. The Port Pirates club was initially formed by a group of rugby fanatics. In its first year the team played invitational games against clubs from all over New South Wales, including Sydney and the Central Coast. Over the years, the club continued to grow and enjoyed a few golden eras as it played host to several star coaches including ex Wallaby Reg Smith.
In the early 1990’s, the club added an under 19s competition and continued to take home more premierships. It brought forth talented players like Waratah Super 12 player Peter Besseling, representative player Gordon McQueen and Peter Bennett, who would go down in history as the club’s best five-eight.
Formation of the Port Pirates Womens’ Team
Forming in 2016, the Port Pirates Womens Rugby Team played their first season under the coaching guidance of Michael Reed. It was Michael’s daughter, Laura Reed, who was first made aware of an opportunity to introduce women’s rugby into our region and she asked her Dad to support her in forming a Port Pirates Womens’ Rugby team. For the first 2 weeks it was only Michael and Laura who were at training but from the third week more girls started to come along and it has now grown to a team of 22 which is the largest of all clubs.
Although there was no formal competition that year, they played in Gala Days throughout the year, playing 7 a side games. Even though they did not win a game in the first year, they certainly had plenty of fun getting to know the game and meeting the other teams.
The focus and aim of building this women’s team has centered around creating a culture of friendship and mutual support and respect. The aim was to make sure every girl fitted in and every player was treated equally and fairly. As a result, great friendships have formed and there is so much support for each other both on and off the field. By introducing the women’s team into the Pirates Club they have formed a passion for their club and for the game of rugby. The girls are there every week supporting their other teams and often help with set up, in the canteen or in the bar.
Going from strength to strength
In 2017 Mid North Coast Rugby Union commenced a trial competition with 6 teams competing. Michael Reed took on the coaching role again and there are now 22 girls registered to play for the Pirates. What a difference a year makes! The girls are playing a mixture of 7’s and 10’s and now are about to play Wauchope in the Grand Final! Go Girls!
According to Club President Peter Gerathy, the girls have been a great addition to their Club. Peter says that besides playing some great rugby they are helping out and also supporting the men’s team. They have formed a strong team and as a result have helped inject new life and added a whole new level of community to the club.
Fundraising for Port Macquarie Pirates recently incorporated an Indigenous Day. The day was aimed at recognising the contribution indigenous players bring to the game of rugby and their club. In addition, the Indigenous jerseys were auctioned with all proceeds going to the Hanley Family. Additional fundraising on that day included donation buckets an each player on the day had to pay to play. As a result, the Port Macquarie Pirates raised over $5000 that day. The other community day in 2017 raised money for the very worthy Red Shield Appeal, for The Salvation Army.
The Westport Club and Port Pirates
Port Macquarie Rugby Union Club and The Westport Club have been proudly affiliated for 10 years. The Westport Club is a major sponsor of the Pirates with our sponsorship tallying over $90,000 in that time. The Westport Club is supportive of the Pirates’ aim to develop their junior players. For example, the club is the venue for their major events including their anniversary celebrations, members events throughout the season. The Port Pirates have also been the winners of a number of awards at The Westport Club’s Sports Awards. In the past they have taken out Club of the Year, Team of the Year and Volunteer of the Year
Of course The Westport Club is proud to be a supporter of Port Macquarie’s Premier Rugby Club. We looking forward to continuing the strong relationship it has with Port Pirates. We would like to wish the Port Pirates Women’s team all the best in their grand final!