After two seasons playing in the BentSpoke John I Dent Cup, the Penrith Emus have been omitted for the 2024 competition.
The ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union keenly supported Penrith’s inclusion in the competition in 2022 at a pivotal time for the club, in what continues to be a positive and respectful relationship. Penrith's initial move to the ACT competition was also unanimously supported by the clubs, with a commitment to fielding teams across 1st Grade, Women, 2nd Grade and Colts.
Club Presidents recently expressed concerns around Penrith’sperformances after some big losses this year. Including a 99-17 defeat by Gungahlin in Round 5, followed by a 111-17 loss to Vikings in Round 7 and a 71-0 victory by Wests in Round 14. Heightened by the mid-season withdrawal of their second grade team. With the logistics of a team based at Nepean Rugby Park playing every second week in Canberra proving incredibly difficult. In the end there was a loss of support from the John I Dent Cup clubs for Penrith’s continuation next season.
The Emus have failed to chalk up a victory in first grade in two years, but their perseverance has been undeniable. In Colts, the Emus finished the regular season in sixth place with only threewins to their name, while in the Women’s competition the Emus recorded seven victories to finish fifth.
Both the Colts and Women’s programs have been the shining light in their two seasons in Canberra, with both making the Finals in 2022.
ACT&SNSWRU Officials have the utmost admiration for Penrith President Gary McColl, Club Secretary Sue Andrews and Head Coach Ronnie Patea and their unwaveringcommitment to the Emus. Their endless dedication to the players and the continuing determination shown for the club isremarkable.
The relationship between the Emus and the Canberra based clubs have also been positive, with all developing a valued association with the Western Sydney club.
The ACT&SNSWRU is keen to maintain a meaningful connection, particularly in the pathway space where severalPenrith players have represented the ACT Brumbies U19’s, ACT Brumbies Women and ACT & Southern NSW Kestrels and Griffins at the recent Australian Rugby Shield in Brisbane. With key players continuing to feature in the ACT Brumbies Academy.
The door remains open and the opportunity for a return to the Canberra based competition would wholeheartedly be considered in the future.