Former North Wales AM Janet Ryder is looking forward to the challenge of being Chairperson of Wales Rugby League.
Janet, a Rugby League fan for over 35 years and a patron of Wales Rugby League for over 10 years has witnessed the growth of the game in Wales first hand and always makes a point of watching the game from the terraces rather than in any corporate box.
Now she is looking forward to the Four Nations and beyond in the Chairperson’s position.
“It has been very exciting to watch the rise of Rugby League in Wales,” she said. “This time I think we have the foundations firm and will go on to grow and an grow.
“It was over ten years ago that I was approached by Mark Rowley with the news that Wales was about to establish its own Governing Body and was asked to become one of the patrons. I have since been a board member and with Mark’s move into the General Manager position I am honoured to fill the role as Chair until the next AGM.
“It may only be for a few months but I know it will be a very exciting time with the Four Nations and the Friendly against Ireland coming up. It will also be a challenging time. I would like to thank Mark for the work that he has done as Chair to establish and build the game, and I look forward to working with him.”
Janet, who is based in North Wales, is coming into the role as Chairperson in an uncertain time in the area for Rugby League. Crusaders’ fans, having seen their club withdraw their application for Super League, are now looking to reform the club in Championship 1 but Janet sees that as just another exciting opportunity for the game to grow.
“I am stepping into this role at a very exciting time for the game in Wales and I am thrilled to be given this opportunity,” she said. “The Scorpions are well established in Championship 1 and are making huge progress in the south building on the community, schools and youth work that has been done. Those roots have really gone down deep into communities and are now beginning to produce fruit. We will see the benefit of all that work in our Four Nations Campaign.
“In North Wales, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster time and we’re still not too sure where it will lead, but one thing is certain the work that has been done in different communities has been immense and the number of people watching and participating has grown tremendously in the last two years.
“Of late there has been a great deal of work gone into finding a way forward and I know that many people want to see the game in North Wales continue to grow. The WRL is fully committed to supporting and extending the growth we have seen, both north and south, and to extend the game into those many areas we still have to reach.
“I know how exciting the game is to watch and with the emphasis on a family friendly game the atmosphere is always good. One thing is certain once people have tasted Rugby League they want more.
“Our next big challenge at international level is the friendly against Ireland at the Gnoll and I look forward to seeing you all there to really get behind our boys. Then its on to Wrexham where we face Australia, we will need you all there to be that extra player off the pitch – making so much noise that your enthusiasm carries our boys to victory.”