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11 December, 2020

Northern Pride: Stepping down with Pride

FAR North Queensland businessman and CEO of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, Tony Williamson announced this week he will vacate his role as chair of the Ken Frost Northern Pride Rugby League Club.

By Peter McCullagh

Cairns Local News

Citing a mixture of family and charity commitments for the decision, Williamson felt the time was right to step aside.

“The past year we have made some considerable positive inroads and I believe now is the right time for not only myself; but also the club, to allow for some fresh hands to step up and take the baton.”

Williamson had planned to step aside earlier in the year at the 2020 AGM scheduled for March. COVID changed those plans along with the cancellation of the 2020 season. Williamson felt compelled to remain in his position to steer the club through the uncharted, challenging economic times.

The Pride Board made a conscience decision two years ago to build a financial reserve to underpin the club in case of a rainy day.

“No-one could have ever predicted that rainy day would have been COVID.

Through good management and some tough decisions we managed to build a cash reserve. This cash reserve has managed to get us through, and we are well set up for next year,” said Williamson.

Williamson says he will leave the club with a strong sense of achievement having seen them though a very different and challenging 2020.

“I am extremely proud to have some young blood coming up through the ranks around the board room table that are passionate and energetic. I know the club will be left in good hands under their collective leadership.

 “I love rugby league and I love the Northern Pride. While I might be retiring as Chairman, I am not walking away from the club.

“The Northern Pride has formed a very important part of my life and I will continue to support the Pride and the Board from afar.

“I look forward to sitting in the grandstand as one of their biggest fans for many more games to come and cheering them on to more Championship victories.

 2021 will be a new look Pride, with a strong roster of players training under Coach Ty Williams combined with increased sponsorship for the club, with the announcement of the Brothers World of Entertainment sponsorship last week.

Williamson will remain in his role as CEO of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, a position that was both demanding and personally rewarding.

 After this week’s announcement the Pride board will have an opportunity to announce the new chairman in due course, with the 2021 Annual General Meeting scheduled to take place in February 2021.

Williamson’s Time at the Pride:

• 2014 Williamson was invited to join the Northern Pride’s Board. That year the Pride won the Queensland Cup defeating Easts Tigers and then the Inaugural NRL State Championship against Penrith.

• Contributed to a new constitution for the club in 2015, which included representation from the CDRL, CDJRL and the Cowboys

• In 2016 after the retirement of then chair, Terry Mackenroth, Williamson was elected to that vacant position.

• Williamson has served the Pride as a Director, with four of those years as Chairman.

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