Bill Borg has never played a game of rugby league in his life, but the Erskine Park resident was Club Secretary for the St Clair Comets Junior Rugby League Club for 32 years.
Mr Borg and his wife Karyn have been recognised for their contribution to rugby league, each being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2023 Australia Day Honours.
It was the Borgs’ son that got them into the sport, but the sense of community kept them involved long after his last football season.
“We moved to the area in 1985 and our son came home from school and said he wanted to play footy, so I got involved from the word go and then Bill got involved because I think he thought if you can’t beat them, join them,” Karyn said.
“Joshua started in U10’s and finished in U17’s. He is 47 now but we kept going and have made life-long friends through football who have also stayed on after their kids.”
Karyn started as a team manager in 1986 and became involved with the St Clair Committee, Ladies Auxiliary before being Treasurer and then Vice President at Penrith Junior League.
Her volunteering included working in the junior league office and being a Zone Controller before she came back to club level in 1998 as Assistant Secretary, A Grade Manager and as a magazine editor for 10 years.
Bill was thrown in the deep end being elected Club Secretary in 1989 but embraced the job with the assistance of his wife.
“I learnt the hard way, made my share of mistakes like everyone else but we put in a lot of hard work and the club flourished,” he said.
“I have been fortunate to have had so many hard-working people around me over the years and was lucky enough to be in a position where St Clair and Erskine Park was booming with no shortage of players. We went from 18 teams to over 50 in a matter of 10 years.”
Bill has enjoyed watching players come through St Clair such as Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Stephen Crichton, with his most memorable moment being the naming of the Bill Borg Mini Field at Peppertree Reserve at Erskine Park in 2010.
With the pair “surprised and honoured” to be recipients this Australia Day, they continue being a part of the club in a reduced capacity and encourage others to get involved where they can.
“I still assist doing the line markings on a Friday night or helping on the barbeque and working in the canteen because it keeps my mind occupied,” he said.
“There is never enough helpers at a club level, so people getting involved in any capacity is always appreciated.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.