Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League

USARL Names Inaugural Chairman



January 13, 2011 (NEW YORK, NEW YORK) – The USA Rugby League (www.usarugbyleague.com), has named Peter Illfield as Chairman. Mr. Illfield hails from Maitland, NSW, Australia, and is a veteran of Rugby League coaching, youth development and administration, most notably with the WARL and Western Reds. Playing Rugby League from a very young age until retiring at 29, Peter has spent several decades as a well-respected coach and coach educator who has developed elite youth squads while also serving as a professional sports administrator and maintaining a lucrative import-export business.
“I would like to thank the USARL Board for selecting me to serve as the inaugural Chairman of the League. While it is true that we will face stark challenges in the months and years ahead, it is reassuring to know that the USARL will do so as a collective. It is my job to advance the game in America through the development of our organisation and I am excited to serve as its ambassador, both internationally and right here in America. We have a strong, forward-looking plan and able individuals to help in its implementation. It is really an exciting time for League in the US.”

Peter’s senior football career began with the Maitland “Pumpkin Pickers” and he played with the NSW Hunter Valley Group 21 competition Premiers and Scone Thoroughbreds. Coached by former internationals Terry Pannowitz, Don ‘Bandy’ Adams, Gary Sullivan and St George centre and Australian NRL referees boss, Robert Finch, Peter gleaned considerable knowledge from Rugby League greats. Peter commenced coaching elite youth Newcastle, NSW, and carried on in Perth, Western Australia, where he became Coaching & Development Manager and Operations Manager with the Western Australian Rugby League as part of the establishment of the Western Reds RLFC. Peter is a Level III High Performance Coach and has previously served as a coaching staff member of the Australian Institute of Sport, Rugby League National Youth Program.

During his 7 years (1988 – 1995) with the WARL and Western Reds, Peter’s role included overseeing junior and elite player development, coaching, education and instruction of coaches and referees, organization of national high school tournaments and propagation of the game within every mainland state of Australia. Some of his best achievements came from Newcastle Headquarters: 488 Madison Avenue, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10022 www.usarugbyleague.com 2 and Perth where he developed elite teenage players who went on to play in the NRL and for Australia including former Kangaroo greats Paul ‘Chief’ Harrigan and Rodney Howe, along with former USA Tomahawks Captain, Newcastle, Nth Queensland, Parramatta and Gold Coast Titans stalwart, Matty Petersen.

“The developmental approach for the USARL will be several-pronged. Not only do we seek to improve the competition and consolidate a strong group of teams in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but we will also look to partner with and support our Florida teams in their expansion and colonization of the Southeast. To support these efforts, securing regional and national sponsors and international development funds will be instrumental. Additionally, we will look to increase awareness of the game in the US in two important ways: through an increased mass media presence and through youth development, with the latter constituting a necessary component to our vision for the long-term health of the game.”

Peter is also the Chairman of the Philadelphia Fight and owns and manages an import-export company. He has lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife Janan since 2006.

Important Additional Information:
The USA Rugby League (USARL) is the source for high-level, semi-professional Rugby League competition in the USA. Formed on the principles of transparency, accountability and equal voting and equity participation by its participants, the USARL is a cooperative of the Member Clubs. The USARL will hold its inaugural season in the summer of 2011. The USARL is also committed to developing the sport of Rugby League at a grassroots level and a true focus of expanding the sport both in player numbers and in youth initiatives. This commitment embraces the sport at semi-professional and amateur levels in an effort to further progress Rugby League.
© 2011 USA Rugby League LLC, all rights reserved.