The club has applied to enter the newly set up Rugby League Conference Premier Division for 2005. This is where our first team squad will play in 2005 if accepted.
As a club we could have continued in NL3 and believe we would have again turned out a competitive squad. However the club has attempted to make a rational and positive decision for the long-term benefit of the club.
The main reasons for this decision was based around the following 3 key issues: 1. The demands of NL3 are growing all the time and playing in this elite competition would have taken up virtually all of our human resources. This would then not allow for suitable volunteer time to focus resource towards other vital aspects of our club development such as juniors, community-links and fund raising activities. We have also lost some very capable and hard-working committee members over the last couple of years for various reasons and if any more people were to leave the club we would find it hard to complete a 22 game NL3 season never mind deliver any of the clubs other objectives. 2. Junior development has always been the backbone of the club and continues to be our main focus. Everyone at the club wants to see local players representing the club at the highest level. At the moment any junior players coming through our ranks capable of competing at NL3 level are likely to sign for a professional club. Any capable of playing at that high standard in the future are likely to play for the London Broncos Foundation and Junior Academies for a 2/3 year period before returning to the Storm. Realistically we will not have local players capable of making up the majority of an NL3-standard team for 4/5 years. 3. The RLC Premier Division will be a competitive and exciting competition. The southern section will probably include the four main clubs from London. These clubs are all forward thinking and progressive clubs, as well as being tough competitors on the field (last year West London Sharks were runners-up in the RLC and fielded several big name players such as Wasps' Trevor Leota and NRL veteran Mark Barnes). Playing home and away against these clubs will help us build up some local rivalry and create some exciting fixtures that will showcase the strides Rugby League in London has made over the last few years. The club would also like to remind the public of the following: 1. South London Storm part fund 2 Full Time Development Officers - No other amateur club can claim this. 2. Last year 41 school teams from Croydon entered the Powergen Champion Schools Tournament. 3. The club has helped establish 3 new community clubs, Brixton Bulls, Croydon Hurricanes and Thornton Heath Tornadoes. 4. The club has helped develop 3 players who have attended National Camp over the last 2 years. 5. South London Storm were the first club side in 10 years to tour Australia 6. The club has also toured France for the last 3 years 7. The club was names Active Sports London Club of the Year for its work in junior development "This is seen very much as a step forward and a chance to join something that is vibrant, new and exciting. The juniors are the most important part of the club and the future of the club and if stepping into the RLC Premier division saves us money that can be pumped into the junior set up, how can this be a negative thing?" commented Club Chairman Paul Brown.
To prove how much the club is moving forward club Press Officer Richard Pitchfork points to the following further announcements made this week and last. "South London is proud to announce not only will it be joining the brand new competition but that due to this we can now also announce our new Head Coach for 2005. Rob joined the club as Director of Coaching in 2004 and as Assistant Coach to Daryl Pitt in the first team. He has done a tremendous job with our junior program in 2004 as a development officer and helped Dave Montero and Dave Bold make great strides in the schools and feeder clubs. "Daryl Pitt has unfortunately had to stand down due to a number of personal commitments for 2005, and we'd like to extend a huge thanks to Daryl for his contribution to the Storm in 2003 and 2004. Daryl intends to remain involved in the club in 2005 where his commitments allow, and his experience in London rugby league will be invaluable.
"Along with this we can announce the approval of a new kit to be launched early next year and our partnership with forty-twenty.co.uk who will be selling these through its website (www.forty-twenty.co.uk
"South London will also be announcing in the New Year major and secondary sponsors for 2005 have been already secured.
"As can be seen the club is moving forward every step of the way. There are many positives to take from this decision as if there wasn't we would simply not have made this decision."
For more information or to become involved with South London Storm please contact Paul Brown on 07887 758117