The man tasked with raising the profile of rugby league in the top of the south lives and breathes the game.
Duke Climo has been a player, coach, manager and board member.
Now as Tasman Rugby League’s new club capability and development manager he gets to use his passion to inspire the next generation of players.
The born and bred Nelsonian says he’s excited to be given the opportunity to work in the sport he loves.
“I’m excited about upskilling and teaching younger age grades and giving our sport depth and pathways for younger people to achieve,” says Duke.
“A lot of kids wear league shirts and follow the NRL so we want to capitalise on that interest to grow the game here and take it to the next level.’’
Duke has already been busy helping senior clubs kick off the new season and is relishing the chance to get into schools to win over new young converts to league.
“Kids love the physicality but league is much more than that. It’s a game of skill that caters for all shapes and sizes. We want to teach them to do it safely.”
NZRL Southern Zone General Manager Steve Martin says Duke is someone who gets things done.
“He is well organised and a strong planner, and he is extremely motivated to make a difference and to lift rugby league’s profile.”
With support from the NZRL and Sport Tasman, much of that work will be in primary and intermediate schools, where Duke will deliver a fundamental skills programme.
Duke will also organise the Pro Brands Intermediate Tournament and work with coaches and managers to ensure Tasman fields the strongest possible teams in South Island age group tournaments.
As well as increasing playing numbers in Tasman, Duke’s role will be about making sure the volunteers, including coaches, managers and medics, required to run the game are supported and upskilled.