Tom Ebsworth was formally recognised by Canberra Region Rugby League at the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night as he became just the seventh person to receive life membership.
Having been nominated for Life Membership by Tony Rayner and having the motion seconded by John McIntyre, Ebsworth was in shock when he was presented with the honour by CRRL Chairman Noel Bissett.
“I really don’t believe that I’ve been accepted as a life member,” Ebsworth said. “I remember all the people before me and I am in a bit of shock, it’s a great honour.”
Best known for his role as an administrator over the last 20 years, Ebsworth has served on various boards and committees for the Queanbeyan Blues, CRRL, Bidgee Bulls, New South Wales Rugby League and Country Rugby League.
Despite all of his accolades, Ebsworth’s start in rugby league during the 60’s was rather modest.
Having lived across the road from the Blues’ home ground, Ebsworth used to go to Queanbeyan Blues matches to be a ball boy.
“I used to cross the road and Wally Pearson used to give me 50 cents a game,” Ebsworth reminisced.
Having played all his junior rugby league in Queanbeyan, Ebsworth continued his involvement at the Blues during his senior playing career where he won five premierships before winning another two as captain-coach in 1986 and 1987.
After his playing days, Ebsworth began serving on the Canberra District Junior Rugby League Committee where his service has been continuous since the mid 1990s. He was regularly a member of the judiciary throughout the 1990s and has also been a part of the senior sub-committee and player points sub-committee.
However, Ebsworth has served rugby league in a broader sense. Having been a part of the Bidgee Board since its inception in 2006, he has been Chairman for the last two years.
In addition to this, Ebsworth has continuously been Canberra’s delegate to Country Rugby League since 2003 albeit for a two year period from 2016-2017 where he was a Director of the organisation.
Ebsworth also managed countless representative sides, including the ACT Representative Team that played in the Super League Interstate Challenge in 1996 and NSW Country.
He also managed Canberra’s representative sides at the Country Championships – including the successful 1989 Monaro side – until two years ago when it clashed with him being on the Country Rugby League board.
Having nominated Ebsworth for Life Membership, CRRL Committee Member Tony Rayner believed it was a just reward for the current Queanbeyan Blues President.
“He’s been part of rugby league in the Canberra Region for a long time,” Rayner said. “He’s been an active member of the committee, not only here but throughout Country Rugby League.
“Tom has been Canberra’s link to Country Rugby League.”
2018 will be Ebsworth’s 50th year being involved in rugby league in the Canberra Region.
Tom joins his wife Karen as a Canberra Region Rugby League Life Member.