Timpson Excited For Rugby League’s 2018 Potential
After coming to Canterbury from Pitt Island in the 1980s, Llew set up business in Christchurch and quickly became involved in the rugby league community. He has been involved in a variety of sports – as a player, coach, supporter, committee member and chairperson. In the wider community, Llew has set up trusts to support the most vulnerable and still manages these trusts today, Llew is the author of several community-based programmes, which he has been delivering for the past 30 years.
Timpson had a lengthy stint as president of the Northern Bulldogs, which included leading the club through several difficult years in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes. The Bulldogs were named the Canterbury Club of the Year in 2013, while Timpson was personally recognised with the Club President of the Year award in 2015.
Chair of North Canterbury Rugby League for five years, Llew has a unwavering passion to help build strong foundations in all of the organisations and initiatives he is actively involved in. After the rebuild of the Northern Bulldogs he said it was time to change gear and become involved in the drive to build our game from the grassroots. According to Llew, our partners, along with our clubs, are the key to building the necessary partnerships to develop a strong foundation to bring players back to our game.
He joined the Canterbury Rugby League board in 2016 and took on the chairperson role last year.
As a Board member and chairperson with Canterbury Rugby League, Llew is focused on supporting the ongoing development of the code in Canterbury. The main objectives Llew would like to meet include returning rugby league to a position where Canterbury is the “go-to place” to play rugby league; he believes over the years rugby league has declined and the CRL have the opportunity to rebuild our great game. Llew says the development of the Nga Puna Wai sports facility for a 2019 opening will provide a fantastic opportunity to re-launch rugby league.
“Rugby league had lost its marketability and its ability to attract people to the sport,” Timpson said when asked about his motivation for getting involved at CRL board level after giving so much of his time to the game in clubland.
“Part of my background is developing programs and initiatives that promote positive outcomes, and I thought I could offer something in that area around creating a better product.”
While the Board needs to have a fluid approach to decision-making at times, Timpson is clear about their mission statement.
“(As a board and as the chairperson), it’s about supporting (CEO) Shane Collins and ensuring she is fully informed about what’s needed to help the game, and also fostering the relationships with the clubs, the community, the council and so forth.
“They are the real positives for me so far, that we’ve been able to expand out into the Canterbury community and form stronger relationships and get more assertive with our own brand. As a governing body we need to get a hold of that and make sure we’re driving that and moving rugby league forward.
“I think we’re moving in that direction – that’s not just in the last six months, but it’s been driven a lot more in the last six months with the development of sub-committees on the board, opening up a wider door of communication to keep stakeholders and sponsors informed, a focus on business and marketing. Those things are in place now – we just have manage them and get them working to meet our end goals.”
After a frantic 2017 that included a heavy focus on the staging of two Rugby League World Cup fixtures in Christchurch, Timpson is looking forward to putting far more energy into the local rugby league scene and ensuring the grassroots are being nurtured – as well as working with the rugby league community to continue to lift the standard of the game in every area.
“In 2018 our goal is to get all the wrinkles ironed out and develop rugby league,” he said.
“We want Canterbury to be the best place to go and play rugby league, to have clean competitions and competitive competitions.
“Running off the back of the World Cup, we’ve got things locally we develop to a higher standard, such as hopefully getting more involved with the Pacific Series and the Nines competitions.
“Rugby league, as a sport, needs to really look at itself and the standard of our product. We all need to be working together to develop that.”