Jack Martin Award Recipient 2014 – Warren Smith OAM
Warren was elected to the St Marys Rugby League Club Board of Directors in 1986 and was named President of the Board in 1990, a position he still holds today.
In 2002 the Board’s vision of having a Stadium located adjacent to the Club became a reality. Warren was enthusiastic in articulating the Club’s plans for the new Stadium and is the Club’s liaison with the wider rugby league community for the staging of events such as the Australian Schoolboys Rugby League, NSW Blues Training Camp and the World Cup Qualifier to name a few.
Warren encourages and promotes the game of rugby league at any age. After instigating discussions with the International Masters of Rugby League, St Marys Leagues Stadium played host to the international tournament in 2004 with a massive 54 teams competed during the week-long series. Warren even swapped his administrative hat for a pair of football boots, head gear and the longest shorts in the history of rugby league to strut his stuff on the field. The tournament was brought back to St Marys in 2008 and continues to grow with two St Marys sides now competing locally, interstate and internationally each year.
Warren was instrumental in the Club’s decision to provide free head gear to all Saints mini players and making it a compulsory part of their playing strip. In 2015 the Club will also subsidise the cost of football boots for all St Marys Juniors.
Each year Warren coordinates a Fijian tour for the Club’s under 13’s side. The purpose of the tour is not just to have a game of rugby league, it is about visiting less fortunate schools and villages, donating much needed sporting gear, clothing and equipment. The tour gives young players a great appreciation of their life in Australia, offers a cultural learning experience and provides invaluable lessons used both on and off the field.
In appreciation of Warren’s contribution to rugby league and the people of Fiji, in 2012 the Fiji National Rugby League presented Warren with Tabua and bestowed him with the title Mr (Ratu) Warren Smith. Ratu is the term used to describe chiefly rank.
Warren’s commitment to rugby league, sport and the wider community is to be admired, his passion for both is obvious in his endless hours and tireless efforts but his contributions do not stop at rugby league and sport.
St Marys Rugby League Club has participated in the Variety Bash for 15 consecutive years and Warren has been involved in each and every one, personally contacting every town and school visited along the way regarding their needs. Whether it is football jerseys, cricket sets, netballs, soccer balls or all of the above Warren sources donations and presents them during the Bash. In 2011 as leader of the St Marys Bash Crew Warren was presented with the Spirit of the Bash Award. This award is presented to the overall Variety Bash Winner, the team that epitomizes the spirit of the Variety Bash.
Warren has been involved in the “One Community” Friday Night Tag Program, working very closely with the NSW Rugby League and Aboriginal Medical Services Western Sydney, the program which has been running at St Marys Leagues Stadium for the past three years involves over 80 indigenous kids from the area and their parents attending the Stadium to have a game of tag, listen to special guests including NRL players who give guidance on healthy living, bullying, choices and other social issues before everyone enjoys the Friday night football match on the big screen and a good old fashioned BBQ feed, of course as organised and cooked by Warren.
Warren has and continues to devote his life to sport and the community, he has a particular passion for rugby league and encouraging young kids to have a go. In 2005 Warren was the proud recipient of the Penrith City Council Wall of Achievement Award for Sport. The Wall of Achievement, now known as the Australia Day Awards recognises the outstanding achievements and contributions of Penrith people.
Warren is admired by all that know him for his outstanding contribution to sport and the community and is a worthy recipient of the prestigious Jack Martin Award.