From the Beginning: Robert Hutton
Involved with Oztag since its inception, Robert Hutton has experienced the game as both a player and administrator, committed to building both Junior and Senior systems at Norwest Oztag.
Norwest Sydney and Blacktown City Oztag Licensee, Robert Hutton has had front row seats to the growth of Oztag since its establishment in 1992 when he played in the first ever competition at St George.
The 64-year-old is proud to have been part of the game for 29 years and to have experienced such milestones along the way.
“We won the first Mixed Opens local competition, and I also played in the first ever rep competition in 1994, representing Cronulla in the Men’s Opens division,” Hutton said.
Having played ever since, Robert has gone through the ranks, representing St George in the Men’s 30s, 35s and 40s before competing in the 45s, 50s, 55s and 60s for Norwest.
In addition to playing, Robert has run Oztag competitions for 25 years, with the help of his wife, Glynis Hutton.
Their shared passion for the game saw them run Hills Oztag before working tirelessly to start up a new association in 2002.
The inception of Norwest Oztag was the perfect opportunity to develop the game in the Hills district, allowing more people to enjoy all that Oztag offers.
“We’ve built up Norwest Oztag from nothing to 200-odd teams,” Hutton said.
“It was a lot of work to start with because Oztag wasn’t so well known, but I took it to schools and really worked on it,” he said.
The growth of Norwest Oztag has been significant for Robert and Glynis, who strongly believe that if you stick to the Oztag rule book and look after your members, they will keep coming back.
“We don’t lose a lot of people once we get them… We’ve had a lot of kids that are now adults that have played with us for about 10 years and you still see the same faces,” Hutton said.
“We attract a lot of good players, but particularly good people,” he said.
Having also produced NRL players, Norwest Oztag strive to keep building their juniors and provide them with a great development system to filter through to seniors.
“Robert Jennings who plays for Penrith and George Jennings who plays for Melbourne both played Junior Oztag with us,” Hutton said.
For Robert, 2022 will mark 30 years of playing Oztag as he continues to compete at both a local and representative level.
“It’s rare. How many people play a sport for that long?” he said.
“With Oztag it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still compete – it’s a great game,”
“I just love playing… I have people that I’ve played with for over 20 years and I’m still playing with them. About three or four of them are in my Men’s 60s team,” he said.