WELCOME RETURN: For the first time in five years, Suburbs took home the Under 14 Dion Roche Memorial Trophy, making their club proud.
WELCOME RETURN: For the first time in five years, Suburbs took home the Under 14 Dion Roche Memorial Trophy, making their club proud. Debbie Scanlan

FOR THOSE WE LOST: Memorial trophy returned to club

EASTERN Suburbs Junior Rugby League Under 14s were proud to take home the Dion Roche Memorial Trophy to the club for the first time in five years.

They scored a convincing win against Collegians Blue in the first round of the junior rugby league on Saturday.

Suburbs president Aaron Fryer said it boosted the club at the start of the season.

"There is some outstanding talent on the side and that is helping motivate the boys. They were confident and enjoying themselves,” Fryer said.

Halfback Jonah Duncan led the team well through the game, and Jeffrey Ross was praised for his strong sportsmanship.

Ross Thorne presented the trophy to the young players on behalf of the Roche family.

Fryer was also pleased to see young players sign up to form a Suburbs Under 8s team at the very last minute.

"They just all of a sudden flocked in which was fantastic,” he said.

"They went really well. They looked like they were having a heap of fun after just one training session together.”

The club is rebuilding, with a new president and coaching manual, and Fryer said the surprise sign-ups showed that confidence in the club's new direction was growing.

"We have different policies with a training manual now in place, with a focus on coaching the kids for skills development and involvement rather than just winning,” he said. "Hopefully that message is getting out in the community now.”

But Collegians were not left without a trophy at the end of the day.

The Under 16s retained the Ian Jones and Daniel May Memorial Trophy after playing a strong game against Suburbs.

"Collegians won convincingly but it was a game played in good spirit,” Collegians president Debbie Scanlan said.

Scanlan said memorial games were a highlight for the young players.

"The fact that these boys (Ian Jones, Daniel May and Dion Roche) played for the clubs, well it means something for our players and they do strive to keep that trophy in their club,” she said.

Scanlan said there had also been a strong sign-on from the girls, with 80 per cent of players new to the sport.

"The girls league in the district has grown every couple of years,” she said.

"There is more interest every year.”