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|From the Rugby Review South Australia,
20th July 1986, Vol.1 No. 1
By Chris Chalke
Kenneth Prosser Grayling doesn't see himself as 'Mr Rugby'. That is an accolade he reserves for Jack Case, who served as secretary of the Union in SA for some 25 years. Ken Grayling's achievements for the game in the many years he has also served it have been mighty ones but, as he puts it: "Jack Case created the foundation for me to build on." As Ken puts it "I've been the right person in the right place at the right time to carry on what Jack Case created."
It is almost too trite to say that this lively, busy man lives for his Rugby. Yet in talking to him you can quickly tell that this is true. He is knowledgeable about and involved in every facet of the game in SA and enjoys a wide involvement with the game at national level. And he is encouraged by the way the game is progressing in his home State. Rugby Union is growing in strength in SA. It's "on the up", says Ken. And what partictularly encourages him is the appointment of a Development Officer, Neil Charter, who will help with the spread of the game into schools. Plans are being finalised with the Department of Education for Walla Rugby to be part of the curriculum in primary schools next year. Already there are 1000 boys in the Junior Union but this new development, possible because of the introduction in 1987 of the four term school year should lead to a lot more boys taking up the sport. This, Ken Grayling hopes, will filter out from .he schools and into the clubs and he is looking to the clubs to take up the running and foster these young players. The appointment, earlier this year, of Neil Charter was made possible by finance from the Community Employment Programme, which pays part of the costs. The SARU, of which Ken is chairman of the Board of Management, pays the rest.
As chairman, Ken Grayling sees his main role as one of expanding the sport in the State. My main object," he says, is to promote rugby in South Australia and to have the State recognised as a viable part of the Australian Rugby Union." He believes there is talent in SA that has not had the chance of emerging and being seen by other States, and he thinks part of the reason for this - the basic reason - is the lack of numbers playing the game in SA. "We can only improve by having visiting inrnational teams here and by sending our boys interstate to play," he says.
The formation of an Under 21 championship has helped to promote players in that age
group, he believes, and in what he sees as a significant triumph for Rugby in the State,
SA will play Queensland Country in a curtain-raiser match at Ballymore before the
Australian semi-final of the World Cup later this year. The State team has already had a
great run of success with a win over Japan and three wins out of three in its tour of NSW
Country. A great plus for SA, he says, was the Argentines playing here against an SA
President's Invitation XV, for which six fringe Wallaby players from interstate were
guests. "It created a great amount of interest. SA put on a quite magnificent
show," he said. But while Rugby in SA is obviously on the increase, what does Ken
Grayling feel is holding it back from becoming a major sport? "Funding remains the
great problem," he says. Coopers and Dunhill are already being a great help to the
SARU but "until we can get major sponsorship in SA, we are going to be
Another great plus for the State, of course, is Ken Grayling's appointment as manager of the Wallabies for 1986 - the year the World Cup is being held here and in New Zealand. This, which Ken sees as a "terrific honour for the State," follows three seasons as manager of the Australian Under 21 side and, says Ken, "gives SA a bit of clout". Ken is also a council member of the Australian Rugby Union, was Australian Liaison Officer on three tours of New Zealand and tours of Ireland and Fiji, and is chairman of the tour committee for the visit here of Hugo Porta's Pumas. An impressive score in the management of Rugby!
But where did it all begin? Ken comes from that hotbed of Rugby Union - New Zealand. He played for Auckland Grammar School, Grammar Old Boys, Athletic Wellington, Cadets Tauranga, Old Boys Wangarei, Manurewa South Auckland. But his main participation on the field has been as a referee - something he kept up for 29 years at senior level and still does for some junior games. He began his refereeing career in Auckland and King Country, New Zealand, in 1950 and carried on when he came to South Australia in 1954. He has refereed in Adelaide and other capital cities, all the time as a senior referee. He was on the panel of refs selected to control games involving international and representative teams and has refereed 582 first grade games, including 15 grand finals, 36 interstate games, 10 international games involving NZ. Tonga, Fiji, Japan and Junior Wallabies v. New Zealand. He has also refereed five times in the UK. Ken was a foundation member of the Australian Society of Referees and is a current foundation member of the Executive. He is also President and a Life Member of the SA Referees Association, of which he was honorary secretary for 25 years. He's a member of the SARU appointments board, has managed numerous South Australian teams, and has been awarded what he sees as a great honour by his fellow members of the SARU - life membership.
All this tireless work has not gone unreward outside the world of Rugby Union. In 1979, Kenneth Prosser Grayling was made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of his service to the sport. Service it may have been, but you get the impression that every moment has been happily and willingly given. "If I can see Rugby in South Australia one day become a major sport, then I'll feel I've done my duty," he said. "It's very important that we strive for that."
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