CRL FAREWELLS TRACY FLEET, WELCOMES OLIVIA SHERWOOD
It’s with a heavy heart that Canterbury Rugby League farewells Tracy Fleet after almost two years as our Club and Game Development Officer. But CRL is excited to announce and welcome Olivia Sherwood on-board as Competitions and Referees Manager.
“Due to a very close friend having some serious health challenges coming up over the next 12 months, I made the hard decision to move back to Dunedin to provide support,” Tracy says.
“I started this journey becoming a ‘leaguie’ with an initial 12-week contract to help out, and over the past 21 months have very quickly became addicted to the people and the culture of rugby league.
“I will miss the ‘leaguies’ from Canterbury and especially my colleagues, Rochelle, George, Kylie, Will, Duane and Vaughan – it’s very rare to find a small team of people who are more like whanau than colleagues.”
Tracy made an indelible mark in many areas across the game Canterbury during a particularly challenging and hectic period.
“Coming to CRL when the organisation was going through a huge period of change with the referees coming under the CRL banner and with many club grounds being upgraded by the Christchurch City Councial, it certainly tested me when trying to assist all our clubs and keeping our referees positive and on the field,” she says.
“I have to say I am extremely proud of the referees we have. Many have stepped up and grown over the past two seasons. Not to forget the healthy bunch of match managers we now have assisting us with the top men’s grades each weekend.
“With everything in life I always aim to leave an organisation in a better place than I found it and I feel we are in a better place now than before I started. The rugby league community have a strong advocate in Duane Fyfe as the CEO, and with a growing number of match officials taking up the whistle and the Ngā Puna Wai move just around the corner, in my opinion the future is bright for rugby league in Canterbury.”
CRL CEO Duane Fyfe paid tribute to Tracy’s enormous contribution since arriving in 2017.
“We are very disappointed to lose Tracy from CRL, she has done a tremendous amount of quality work in her time here with her commitment to continually improve the code here in Canterbury,” he said.
“Tracy has been a great member of our team and will be missed. We are mindful of her need to return to Dunedin for personal reasons and wish her all the best with the hope she can help rugby league in Otago with her skillset.
“At the same time we are fortunate to welcome Olivia Sherwood, who has gained valuable experience working at Auckland Rugby League last year and NZRL prior to that and brings a background of rugby league in Canterbury.”
Olivia assisted New Zealand Rugby League on a casual basis from 2014-17, helping with football operations around national tournaments and programmes.
She then spent all of 2018 at Auckland in an administration role, before moving home to Canterbury at the end of the year. Taking on the Competitions and Referees Manager position at CRL sees Olivia’s involvement with rugby league come full circle.
“I was raised in the game, going to Rugby League Park every weekend – most of my childhood was spent there with my family being involved with the game,” Olivia explains.
“When I went to Aranui High School I started to get my own passion for the game. I was in the school’s Rugby League Academy for two years and managed their junior and senior teams, including taking the senior team to the National Secondary Schools Tournament in Auckland. I was one of the first females in the Academy.”
Olivia’s passion for, and understanding of, the rugby league environment in Canterbury is a huge plus for CRL, while her skillset is also a perfect fit for the challenging and demanding role.
“The type of role that it was really attracted me to CRL, (focused on) operations, which is an area I have a real passion for and a job I’ve always wanted a job in – especially around rugby league.
“It ticks all those boxes and to work in rugby league in my hometown is something I’ve always wanted to do as well.”