League: Chantez Connor's volunteering efforts earn national Pirtek award

Friday, February 16, 2018

Connor was named Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year

Chantez Connor has received the Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year accolade at the NZRL Awards Photo  John Stone
Chantez Connor has received the Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year accolade at the NZRL Awards. Photo / John Stone
By: Andrew Johnsen
Andrew Johnsen is the Northern Advocate sports editor
andrew.johnsen@nzme.co.nz northernadvocat
Chantez Connor gives everything to the game of rugby league and has been recognised for her efforts on the national stage.   Connor was named Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year at the New Zealand Rugby League Awards for her contributions to the sport in Northland. She said the honour still had not sunk in. "I'm still overwhelmed by getting the award to be honest. It was amazing to get the award," she said.

"It was really cool to see the others get recognised too. I just made sure to acknowledge everyone in my speech from our region. "I was really surprised. The calibre of people in my category was huge. "The other nominees were from far bigger regions so I can only imagine how much work they had to put in for their area. It was just an honour to be nominated really."Connor has been a vital cog in the game for the last seven years, starting with Otaika Eagles before moving on to help the Northland game. Her reasons for helping improve the sport are relatively simple. "I do it all for the game. "It's always good to see the mahi pay off. People always ask why we [volunteers] do it and it's for the kids and the development of the game. "We want to help the community. It's a professional sport so we want it to be just that. We get coaches, managers and referees to go to courses and get qualifications for that reason." Connor is doing things every day to help improve rugby league in Northland, including putting in full-day stints on the weekend. Preferring to work behind the scenes and improve the game from there, she said volunteers were integral to the game. "Without volunteers we wouldn't be able to have the game. There are so many people that give their time to the game," she said. "And that's not just coaching or managing either. It could be counselling youth."

Rugby League Northland implemented changes in the senior premier competition, adding incentives for winning the regular season rounds as well as the playoffs, something Connor was involved in planning. She said league was in a good place in Northland and that was shown by success on the biggest stage in the game - the NRL. "I think league is in a good position at the moment. It's very positive," she said. "We're growing with the game nationally. Even though we're a small region, we are in the know in terms of national development. NZRL is developing things and we're not left behind. "We are doing everything to implement change in the game. "We've got a few players running in the NRL now so we must be doing something right. They come from here and are proud of it and they recognise they're representing the region which is great to see."

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