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Rohan Aalders features as NSW Waratahs 'Humans of Rugby'

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

“I just love the game and the camaraderie that grows out of it and the friends I’ve made is a fantastic by-product. I remember early morning kick-offs in winter and playing in the mud. As a kid I used to look forward to any overnight rain and getting to sludge around was always a lot of fun.

The game has provided me with so many fantastic memories and there are days I can remember so much detail, because of the significance around the games played. The 2008 Jeffrey Cup Grand Final will always be a big memory of mine considering what the team achieved in a game no one outside of us expected or believed we could win. 2019 Grand Final day when Quins won all three grades is still fresh in the minds of all at our club given the lack of Rugby over the last two years. You don’t forget any Grand Final and 2011 is also no different. There are countless random games where it was a genuinely good competition, and we could all have a beer afterwards.

I got into Rugby somewhat by accident. I hadn’t played for a period after school and my brother was roped in via a friend of his and he asked me to come and fill in as they were a bit short. It just snowballed from there.

I’ve been involved with Sydney Harlequins since 2005. I played between 2005-2012 but the injuries took over from there, but I still had so much passion for the game. From 2008-2018 I was Club Secretary, Registrar, and an Assistant Referee. In 2018 I began coaching 3rd Grade and took over 1st Grade in 2020. I have been Vice President since 2019 and continue as an Assistant Referee and have filled in as a Referee on a few occasions.

It’s been amazing to see the growth in the club and fills me with a lot of pride. From 2008 to present we have grown from two teams to at times four and moved from Division 5 to Division 3. We’ve collectively grown the club to be extremely stable financially with what we consider a strong and accepting culture that I and others are proud of.

I believe Sydney Harlequins, and Rugby, gave me a lot; the enjoyment of just playing the game came back, I made lifelong mates, and generally had a great time from day one. It felt right to give back to the game and the club and I’m more than happy to put in the hours that I do. It has been fulfilling to be part of something and help it grow over the years so others can experience what I did.

If I could change one thing in the game it would be in the officiating in the professional game, If the Refs need to slow things down to frame-by-frame and spend 5 minutes assessing something then something is wrong with the game.

Broadly speaking all players should be very thankful for the tireless work of the countless volunteers across the game that every club has and there are thousands of stories of people who go out of their way to ensure the games can be played each week.

On a personal note, I am very thankful for all the great teammates I’ve played with, the mates I’ve made and the good people I’ve encountered along the way.”


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