A History of the Dubbo Rhinos Rugby Club (formally Dubbo Old Boys)
From humble beginnings the Dubbo Rhinos Rugby Club, has continued to go from strength to strength and now is a competitive force in the Central West rugby
In 1992, with interest in rugby at an all time high, two local identities, Roger Blake and Brian Crispin, got together, thrashed some ideas around and decided Dubbo could support another club.
Being school teachers themselves, they decided to ask teachers interested in rugby, including Duncan McDonald, if they would be interested in entering a team in the Presidents Cup under the name Dubbo Teachers
A classified ad was placed in the Daily Liberal asking for rugby players to attend a meeting with the purpose of discussing the formation of a rugby club. Whilst there wasn't an enormous attendance at this first meeting, club stalwarts Steve Davis, Noel Mawbey and Peter McGlynn were present.
After a few meetings, the name Dubbo Teachers was dropped, as it would project an image of a teacher’s only club. After receiving no credible names, Brian Crispin suggested Old Boys, as every player is an old boy of one school or another. The Dubbo Old Boys Rugby Club Inc. was born, with Roger Blake installed as its first president, and the Rhino mascot was appointed soon after, as a nod to the city’s connection with the zoo.
The club's first season in Central West's Presidents Cup competition in 1993, proved to be very successful making the semi finals. After the 1994 season, the Club's first grand final appearance and competition runners up, and as more players came on board, it was determined that the Club could play in the first division competition. In 1996 the Old Boys were promoted.
The club has been able to record some memorable wins, with the highlights including, 1998 when Ian Burns' third graders enjoyed a fine moment when they were narrowly defeated in the final. The defeats of the Dubbo Kangaroos at their home ground of No 1 Oval in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 all represented major milestones and the Rhinos' first graders were the only team to defeat the Orange Emus in their premiership winning season of 1999. In 2006 the Rhinos repeated this feat when they were the only team to defeat the premiership winners the Kangaroos.
Although they have enjoyed many fine moments, the club has also been forced to endure some tough periods for players and officials alike.
Tragedy struck the Rhinos in 2000, when one of the clubs finest, Wilson Te Whata, suffered a severe neck injury in a training accident. The accident has brought out the best in Wilson, his courage spurring the Rhinos onto greater deeds, including the project of building a specially designed house for Wilson and his family. The WorldRugbyAuction.com auctions during 2003/4 of donated club jerseys from around the world, raised thousands of dollars for Wilson.
In late 2000, a special meeting of the Club was held to discuss the future direction of the club. The meeting resolved that the club should officially change its name to Dubbo Rhinos Rugby Club Inc.
In their 10th year, 2002, the Rhinos could boast their first juniors in Under 15's and 17's, who's first years efforts were outstanding, with both teams playing in their respective grand finals with the Under 15's taking out the title and the Under 17's being narrowly defeated. The seniors had a successful season meeting many of the challenges they had set themselves and enjoyed a very successful tenth anniversary.
Further seasons have provided some mixed results in all grades. The best performing team though these years would have to be the 2004 3rd grade team, self titled ‘Larso’s Army’ (after Dads Army) captain/ coached by long time Rhino Darren Larsen, this crew of a few young guns and many old hard heads fought hard to make it to the elimination final being defeated narrowly by Wellington who went on to win the competition. The Colts had a fine season in 2006 qualifying for and playing in two semi finals.
Another highlight over the years has been the introduction of our ‘imports’, young and keen players from overseas, including players from England, Scotland, Georgia, France, Fiji, Wales, New Zealand and the United Sates of America, who have all enjoyed the opportunity of extended runs with the Rhinos, providing some excellent rugby talent and a heavy dose of humor and spirit throughout the club. The Rhinos have truly become an international rugby club.
In 2006 the Rhinos introduced another first, a Women’s squad whom named themselves the Rhino Shelia’s. These ladies in just one season became the most successful team the club has ever had winning the 2006 and 2007 Central West Women’s Premiership in fine style.
At the end of 2006 the Rhinos inducted their first ever life member Steve Davis, a man who was there at the start, invested many hours and dollars into the club and almost single handedly looked after Wilson Te Whata in his hour of need and helped progress the club since joining first division, it was a fitting reward for the long term President and 2006 NSW Rugby Volunteer of the Year Runner Up, who for 2007 handed over the Presidential reins to Denis Sheridan, who played in 1993, the Old Boys first year, and can still be seen enjoying the occasional celebrity appearance in 3rd grade.
The Rhino's also created history when in 2007 two of the Shelia's best were selected in the women’s Australian team, the Wallaroos. Prop Kylie Pennell earned a spot in the run on team and back rower Teresa Koen was selected in the shadow squad. The girls can be very proud of being the first ever Rhinos to gain selection for Australia.
More recent years have provided silverware for the men, winning the 2014 & 2015 premierships of the Graincorp Cup Northern Division. As you can imagine, these successes were cause for many a celebration that lasted days!
Up the Mighty Rhinos!