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Lord Mayor of Wollongong, Councillor Alex Darling joined the Board of the Illawarra Steelers and Cleary Bros CEO Mr Bob Elvy today to launch the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Illawarra Steelers.
A cavalcade of Illawarra Steelers Rugby League greats will come together to recognise the occasion with a 25th Anniversary Dinner to be held at the WIN Entertainment Centre (Wollongong) on Tuesday 6th June made possible through the support of Cleary Bros. The night will be a rollcall of the many players and coaches, who, over the years, made their mark on rugby league while playing with and coaching the Illawarra Steelers.
To acknowledge the efforts of these players and as part of the evening?s celebrations, the Steelers will name its ?Team of Steel? and induct four (4) inaugural playing Life Members from the Steelers playing ranks.
The ?Team of Steel? will consist of 17 players and 1 coach who will be selected from a group of 40 nominees who became icons of the game between 1982 and 1998. The 40 nominees will be released progressively over the next two weeks. The identity of the Team of Steel will be a closely guarded secret until the big night.
Host of the event will be Channel Nine and WIN Television Rugby League commentator Andrew Voss with Special Guest Kevin Humphreys, Chairman of the ARL at the time of the Steelers commencement in the ?Big League?.
Illawarra Steelers Chairman, Peter Newell said, ?This one-off special event will mark a significant milestone in the Steelers and the region?s Rugby League history. How fitting that Cleary Bros have assisted in providing the rugby league fans in our region with an opportunity to recognise the contribution the Illawarra Steelers made to our sporting history and to the economy of our region over the past 25 years?.
Mr Bob Elvy, Cleary Bros CEO said, ?Cleary Bros have been supporters of the Steelers since the beginning and we are delighted to be part of celebrations of the Anniversary of the Steelers admission into the (then) ARL Premiership.?
?The Steelers through its work in developing rugby league in this district have been able to provide
opportunities for countless young people and ensure that our region is represented in rugby league at the highest level. The naming of the ?Team of Steel? is sure to create district-wide interest and speculation,? Mr Elvy said.
Cleary Bros Chairman, Mr Denis Cleary said, ?We are thrilled to be able to continue the support the late John Cleary and family gave to the Illawarra Steelers over many years.?
25th Anniversary organiser and Illawarra Steelers Director Bob Millward added, ?The selection panel have had the difficult task of naming the Steelers best team by position along with one coach. The criteria was to select the players on their performances while playing with the Steelers.
While comparing players across eras is problematic, I am sure that the Team of Steel would challenge for an NRL premiership if it was assembled for a game today.?
?The Steelers as both an organisation and a physical club have had a significant impact on our city, and I'd like to congratulate them for reaching this milestone," said the Lord Mayor, Councillor Alex Darling.
"In a region that's been a breeding ground for so many sporting champions, we should not underestimate the role of the Illawarra Steelers in the development of rugby league players who have gone on to represent their state and nation. It's also important to acknowledge the part the Steelers have played in bringing our community together as we collectively cheered on the mighty scarlet and white."
The Illawarra Steelers was formed in 1981 and participated in Australia?s major Rugby League competition from 1982 until 1998. Players became household names of players throughout the region.
The Steelers became the focal point for Illawarra Rugby League fans during the winter and WIN Stadium (as it is now known), became the venue for record crowds and memorable games. The Steelers contribution to world class Rugby League has continued since 1999 through its involvement in the joint venture St George Illawarra Dragons.
Who can forget some of those memorable ?Steelers moments?? The early day struggles, victories against the favoured teams, the 1989 Panasonic Cup final, the 4-nil loss to St George in the 1992 final? the list goes on!
Team of Steel nominees will be announced each weekday over a two week period from Monday May 15.
Tickets to the dinner are $110 each or $1,000 for a table of 10. Bookings can be made by
contacting Julie Nicoll from the Illawarra Steelers on (02) 4224 8718.
For more information please contact:
Illawarra Steelers Director/25th Anniversary Organiser