West Harbour hoping to become Sydney Rugby powerhouse under new president Siobhan Seiuli

West Harbour are hoping to become the number one destination for talented young athletes in Sydney’s inner west under the guidance of newly appointed club president Siobhan Seiuli.

Seiuli, the club’s first female president, has been involved in West Harbour’s junior club for over 10 years and was awarded the NSW Volunteer of the Year award in 2011 after establishing the Inner West Mini’s competition.

“Gender aside, it’s about doing what is best for the club,” Seiuli told Rugby News.

“Obviously, it’s been a very traditional club for a long time and while those traditions are great, we need to adapt to the modern sporting landscape and run a sustainable business model to ensure the club can be successful for many years to come.”

West Harbour have long been considered the sleeping giant of Sydney Rugby but Seiuli says the foundations are now in place to help the club fulfil it’s potential on and off the field.

“Our people are key. One of the first steps was to find the right head coach and I think we’ve certainly found that in Todd Louden. There has been significant change already at the club and I think one of the key things is that for the first time in a long time, the focus isn’t solely on first grade,” she said.

“We’ve got a very holistic, one club approach and I’ve certainly never seen the club so united with grade and colts mixing and volunteers happy to help wherever they can. Todd has been key in pulling that all together.”

Seiuli will continue to serve as president of West Harbour Junior Rugby and is hoping to strengthen the link between the junior and senior clubs in the years to come, adding that retaining local talent was key to the future success of the Pirates.

“There has always been that pathway but I’m hoping that my history with the junior club will help because from a development perspective, both the junior and senior clubs need the resources to be successful,” she said.

“There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching our juniors run around for other clubs. I understand that in the past, they may have felt that there could have been a better pathway for them but we’re hoping with the changes that we are making, other clubs will look less attractive because we’ll be able to offer everything the player needs for their development.

“We’re not just focussing on the rugby development, but focussing on the whole package. The people development side of things, giving them skills in other areas and focussing on the overall wellbeing of the player. We want players to know that they can get everything they need from our club.”

West Harbour began their second preseason under Todd Louden earlier this month and are looking to build on the momentum created by the first grade side’s strong finish to the 2017 season, which saw playmaker Taylor Adams win the Ken Catchpole Medal and sign a professional contract with the Melbourne Rebels.

“We’re all thrilled for Taylor and it shows that Todd has our teams heading in the right direction on the field,” Seiuli said.

“Off the field, we’ve made some cosmetic changes already with our branding and we’ve started to work with that one club mentality but now we really need to ensure we build on those foundations so that we can realise our visions for the future.”