The Canberra Region Rugby League and Canberra Raiders have appointed former Cricket ACT CEO Mark Vergano in a new position of General Manager, Canberra Region and Community Rugby League.
Mark is an experienced sports administrator having been CEO of Cricket ACT for over 13 years and he was instrumental in achieving the biggest summer of cricket in the capital's history.
Mark has overseen a massive change in Canberra cricket, including the redevelopment of Manuka Oval, luring the Australian team to the capital, the Big Bash Twenty20 final and facilitating World Cup fixtures. He has driven growth in participation of more than 400 per cent across three forms of the game and has run pilot programs for Cricket Australia locally and helped establish the (ACT) Meteors in the women's competition. Mark also managed successful partnerships and co-tenancy arrangements with AFL at Manuka
The new role will include administering the local junior and senior rugby league competitions as well as helping to grow the game of rugby league in the Canberra region. Mark will work with local clubs as well as partners such as the ACT Government and Touch Football ACT and to achieve this growth.
Raiders CEO Don Furner said the appointment was huge for the game of rugby league across the Canberra region and said the focus would be on growing rugby league across all ages and levels.
“It’s a competitive environment in sport and we need to keep our numbers up there in terms of participation and support and we’re very lucky that Mark became available, as he’s been through a lot of what we’re going through now in terms of growing participation, grass roots involvement and improving facilities,” Furner said. “His experience in sourcing sponsorships and partnerships to help fund sport at a local level will also be invaluable.
“He’s an experienced administrator and we welcome him to the organisation and look forward to seeing his role develop and the game continue to grow in the region.”
Mark Vergano said the new role was exciting and he was eager to make an impact as soon as possible.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to remain in sport and help build a sport I’ve been passionate about for a long time,” Vergano said. “Grass roots and the club system are vital in rugby league and to make the clubs stronger and to show rugby league is a force in this area is a focus.
“Our numbers are very good, but we want to grow these numbers and we want to be known as the best in the region for developing players and encouraging participation in a really healthy environment.
Vergano said rugby league in the Canberra region has a perfect springboard in the Raiders for growing the game and said he looked forward to working with the Raiders and at a grass roots level.
“We’ve got a fantastic week by week advertisement here in the Raiders and it’s about drilling that down and by making the region feel like they are a part of it and helping to develop the sport in Canberra,” he said. “We’ve got a very exciting team which plays some very exciting football and the results are going to come. We want to engage our community here to say rugby league is on the map. It’s a part of Canberra, it has been since 1982 and it will continue to be so. We want to develop the sport and get it front of mind.”
The Canberra Region Rugby league and Canberra Raiders would also like to thank Karen Ebsworth the current Executive Officer, who will finish up with the Canberra Region Rugby League after 19 years of service.
IMAGE: Canberra Region Rugby League Chairman Noel Bissett with Mark Vergano and Don Furner