Message from the Chairman and CEO

We are excited to present Tweed Heads Seagulls Rugby League Football Club five year strategic plan – a blueprint for the Club’s operations from 2017-2022.

Over the next five-year period, The Plan will provide a roadmap for Seagulls to build partnerships to achieve our goals.

Seagulls is at a critical juncture. Established in 1908 we are one of the oldest sporting clubs of any code in Australia and we have a rich and proud history and tradition. Our foundations are strong but as the world changes around us, some need shoring up to ensure we thrive – we cannot survive on history and tradition alone. The direction we take over the next five years will define Seagulls future for decades to come.

When Seagulls was formed 110 years ago people led simpler lives with fewer sporting, lifestyle and leisure competitors to Rugby League. Nowadays there are a multitude of ‘footy’ codes and a plethora of other sports and activities that we are competing for people’s time with.

Many of our competitors are visionary, strategic and sophisticated in their approach to attracting participants and Rugby League has been slow to respond – for us to survive we need to lift our game.

Seagulls need to moderninse, understand the latest trends in sport, our environment and society in general and harness the latest strategies, tools and technologies to engage better with our community and create sustainable long term partnerships.

We have many strengths, none more so than our First Grade’s participation in the Intrust Super Cup (Queensland State Cup) competition and our official NRL affiliate feeder club relationship with the Gold Coast Titans. This means Seagulls is the only official regulated pathway for players in Northern NSW to get into the NRL system.

However, despite top four finishes from our lower grades in recent seasons, our on field performances have been below expectations. Our off field performance – commercial and financial operations and fan and community engagement – has also been below the standard that a club, playing at our level expects.

This strategic plan aims to change that and to take The Seagulls to the next level on and off the pitch.

At the forefront, our overarching purpose is to create sustainable pathways and opportunities for Rugby League Players to play at the highest level of Rugby League possible.  Our strategy is focused on delivering consistent and sustainable performances which will provide perennial opportunities for State Cup Success.

The strategy is underpinned by six Key Performance Areas which provide the fundamental framework for delivery of the Club’s objectives.

Key to our success will be our ability to offer pathways for more players from the local community to get involved in Rugby League with view to becoming Seagulls, and potentially NRL players.  To support this the plan focusses on engendering a high performance culture for Seagulls players and staff which will provide greater opportunities for on field success which will attract higher profile players to the club.

In addition we also have a strong focus on encouraging participation – both on and off the field – from women and players from ethnically and culturally diverse communities. A key objective is to launch a Seagulls Female Rugby League Program for the 2019 season.

Everyone needs a good home and we are committed to playing at Piggabeen Sports Complex for the duration of this plan and beyond. However, great players need great facilities and one of our priority objectives is to turn Piggabeen into a leading regional sporting facility. We have already commenced work with key partners including, Tweed Shire Council to achieve this

This plan identifies ways that we will develop strong, sustainable partnerships with key stakeholders and partners because working collaboratively means we can not only offer sustainable pathways for Rugby League players but can address important societal issues such as ethnic diversity, obesity, mental health and the growth in women’s’ sport in the process.

Separate Annual Operational Plans will be developed to support the implementation of this Strategic Plan and the specific actions required to deliver it. In addition a number of separate strategies and plans will be developed to focus on specific areas identified within the Key Performance Areas.

As a Club we are positive about our future and with a new management team, coach and development staff in place for the 2018 season we will be passionate and relentless in delivering all elements of this plan – we invite you to be part of the journey.

About this Plan

This strategic plan has been developed by staff with input from partners under the guidance of the Club’s Board.

The plan recognises that whilst there are and will always be individual needs within the club there is the need to share common goals.

The plan has 4 key components

  1. Our History and Profile
  2. Our Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values describes and define why we exist, what we aim to achieve, how we aim to achieve it and the foundation for how we behave and interact with others, and ultimately how our partners and the wider community perceive us
  3. Environment and Positioning – An overview of external factors that directly or in directly affects the Club and how we are generally perceived in the community (this includes a SWOT analysis reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the Club)
  4. Our Key Performance Areas translate our goals and our approach into action. Each year, our goals and these strategies will be operationalised by the clubs Annual Operational Plan

History and Profile

Tweed Heads Seagulls Rugby League Football Club (RLFC) was established in 1908. The first team was formed in 1909 and entered the Tweed District Rugby Union Competition until Rugby League was later introduced into the Tweed region.

In 1922 Tweed Heads Seagulls won their first ever Premiership in the Rugby League Compe­tition. The success of the club continued with a number of winning seasons in the competition including 1939 and 1940.

The 1960s and 70s saw many accomplishments for the now established club including: a stellar sling of seasons as undefeated Premiers, the purchase of the Club’s first piece of land and the completion and opening of the first ever Tweed Heads Seagulls Club House.

The 1980s and 90s saw the Club receive the opportunity to represent Australia and the sport in the United States as well as touring Papua New Guinea, purchasing their second piece of land on Piggabeen Road, converting The Gold Coast Giants into the Gold Coast Seagulls and enter­ing the Winfield Cup Competition to become the Gold Coast’s first professional Rugby League team.

Some of Rugby League’s finest players have played in the black and white butcher stripes for Seagulls over the years including Wally Lewis, Henry Horace, Barry Muir, Col Hayes, Henry Kafoa and Elwyn Walters.

The late 90s in to the new millennium were a tough time for the Club. Seagulls were accepted into the Queensland Cup in 2003. In 2007, Seagulls were premiers in both the Queensland Cup and Colts competition. That year, the Gold Coast became home to its first National Rugby League Team; the Gold Coast Titans.


Queensland Cup / Intrust Super Cup

Tweed Heads Seagulls are participants in the Queensland Cup, also known as Intrust Super Cup, competition. The foundation of our success in this competition is due to our faith and commitment of our talented juniors. The Cup team plays 24 games per season, not including the final series.

The Intrust Super Cup is one of the most premier rugby league competitions in Australia. There are 14 competing clubs in the competition which covers the major Queensland areas including Cairns, Mackay, Townsville, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and outer suburbs of Brisbane and the only International team Papua New Guinea.

Many clubs participating in the Intrust Super Cup feed into the National Rugby League (NRL). Tweed Heads Seagulls RLFC is a proud ‘feeder’ club to the Gold Coast Titans. This feeder club agreement can result in players from the NRL coming back to play in the Intrust Super Cup and players from the Intrust Super Cup being moved up to play in the NRL. This arrangement has allowed for many now NRL players to have their start in the competition. Tweed Heads Seagulls has provided many players to the NRL including, David Mead, Ryan James, Cody Nelson, Tom Kingston, Dominique Peyroux, Will Mathews, Kayne Lawton and Ben Ridge. Luke O’Dwyer, Michael Gordon and Jeremy Smith played in the foundation Queensland Cup team. The founding idea of the feeder club arrangement is to ensure the quality of the Intrust Super Cup competition is of a very high standard as a second tier to the NRL.

The Intrust Super Cup provides great exposure for its participating clubs, players and associated with televised matches, television replays and radio broadcasts. Please see the next page for more information.


The state wide Colts competition is classified as an under 20s team. Our Colts side act as a development side for the Gold Coast Titans under 20s. As a part of the feeder club agreement we have players who are moved backwards and forwards between the Titans’ National Youth Competition (NYC) side and our Colts team. The Colts play 22 games per season, not including the final series.

Under 18s

Our under 18s team is the first step for juniors to play against men an is a development squad for our colts. The under 18s competition is a Queensland state wide competition featuring 15 clubs competing for the title in a quick fire seven round competition followed by knockout semi-finals and a gran final.

A Grade

The A Grade side is essentially the feeder team for the Queensland cup squad. The A Grade team plays in the Gold Coast competition.

Feeder Club to The Gold Coast Titans

Tweed Heads Seagulls RLFC is a proud NRL affiliate feeder club to the Gold Coast Titans NRL Club which means that we are the only official regulated pathway for players in the local region to get into the NRL system. The Gold Coast Titans put their trust in The Seagulls to nurture, develop and grow their players who are working to breakthrough into the Titans team.


Seagulls Rugby League Participation Pyramid

Seagulls provides pathways for players from the local region into the NRL system. The above Participation Pyramid shows the pathways for clubs from Northern Rivers & Gold Coast Rugby League and Tweed Byron & Gold Coast JRL into the Seagulls and from Seagulls into the NRL and onto State of Origin or Country representation.

Our Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values

Our Purpose

To create sustainable pathways and opportunities for Rugby League Players to play at the highest level of Rugby League Possible.

Our Vision

To be a competitive and sustainable club that is successful and respected amongst the community.

Our Mission

  1. Provide pathways to nurture grassroots and elite football talent for on-field success
  2. Be seen as the club for children and seniors from the region to aspire to play for
  3. Attract and retain the best athletes by providing first rate player conditions and career pathways
  4. Employ the best people and harness technology to become a professional and efficient organisation
  5. Provide friendly, exciting and inspiring experiences for members, fans and local communities
  6. Develop programs to promote healthy lifestyles with a particular focus on obesity and mental health

Our Values


  • Valuing the importance of every decision and every action
  • Striving to improve and innovate in everything we do
  • Setting clear goals against which we measure success
  • Inspiring the highest standards in ourselves and others


  • Engaging and empowering everyone to feel welcome in our game
  • Reaching out to new participants and supporters
  • Promoting equality of opportunity in all its forms
  • Respecting and celebrating diversity in culture, gender and social back ground


  • Standing up for our beliefs and empowering others to do the same
  • Being prepared to make a difference by leading change
  • Putting the game ahead of individual needs
  • Having the strength to make the right decisions, placing fact ahead of emotion


  • Encouraging and supporting others to achieve common goals
  • Committing to a culture of honesty and trust
  • Motivating those around us to challenge themselves
  • Respecting the contribution of every individual


  • Engendering discipline on and off the field
  • Employing the highest standards in everything we do
  • Being professional, accountable and transparent in our decision making

Environment and positioning

This section is an overview of external factors that directly or in directly affects the club and how we are generally perceived in the community. A summary of these factors includes:

General Environment

  • Numerous Rugby League Clubs exist in the region (region includes Tweed and Southern Gold Coast)
  • Situated in a growing area of the region – 40% population growth in Tweed over next 20 years
  • Strong Rugby League culture in the region
  • Seagulls has strong history and brand within Rugby League but not strong in the broader community
  • Other codes and clubs are dominant in media, sponsorship and recruitment
  • A lot of Clubs and codes are competing for the same sponsorship dollars
  • No formal strategic linkages and pathways programs with other clubs in the region
  • Sub-standard training and playing facilities


  • Potential and current players at all three grades
  • Past players
  • Seagulls Junior Rugby League Club and other junior clubs in the region
  • Northern Rivers and Southern Gold Coast Rugby League Clubs
  • Schools & Universities
  • Local Community
  • Women and Culturally diverse communities
  • Potentials sponsors
  • Business community


  • Oldest Club in the competition – rich history and tradition and a friendly club
  • Not a wealthy Club – to be successful we need to punch above our weight
  • NSW club playing in QLD – how do we turn this into an opportunity
  • Relies heavily on funding from QRL and Norths (Seagulls)


  • Other football codes draw from same player base
  • Other sports
  • Other Rugby League Clubs
  • Work commitments
  • Professional incentives from others sports

Our Resources

  • Club maintained website
  • Access to QRL resources
  • Quality coaches
  • Recruitment of new staff members
  • Vision and Strategic Plan to lift the club to the next level

SWOT Analysis

This reviews the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the Seagulls.


  • Geographic location of training and playing facilities
  • Opportunity and pathways for young players interested in Club
  • A strong history and tradition of the club
  • Club provides an inclusive, welcoming and friendly environment for players and supporters
  • Play in Intrust super Cup – second highest level of RL competition in Australia


  • Facilities at Piggabeen are inadequate and do not meet minimum QRL standards
  • Poor engagement with the community and weak brand positioning
  • Poor volunteer recruitment and retention
  • No detailed understanding of our audience base/demographic
  • Separate juniors club – not as smooth a transition of players as it could be
  • Football department investment compared to other clubs
  • NSW club playing in QLD Comp


  • Good catchment for RL talent
  • Create strategic relationships with local junior Clubs, schools and university, governing bodies,
  • Improved transition from juniors to seniors with better coaching networks and focus on player development
  • Sponsorship and local business community
  • Relationships with local community
  • Coordinate approach by better committee structure
  • NSW Club taking on the Queenslanders!
  • Potential to develop professional and proficient coaching staff
  • Pool of ex-players and supporters being involved in the Club


  • No membership base/program
  • Not being self-funded – rely on QRL and Norths for funding
  • Other Rugby Clubs
  • Other football codes
  • Financial instability and reliance on funding
  • No sustainable flow of juniors because of gap between clubs

Key Performance Areas

Our Key Performance Areas translate our goals and our approach into action.

We have identified six key performance areas that underpin the success of the club for future development:

They are:

  1. Football Operations
  2. Commercial Operations
  3. Finance and Governance
  4. People and Culture
  5. Fan and Community Engagement
  6. Facilities and Infrastructure

Below we have addressed each Key Performance Area and articulated each one’s specific:

  • Goals – the overarching principles that guides decision making
  • Strategies – the approach taken to achieve the goals
  • Objectives – the measurable steps to achieve the goals

A separate Annual Operational Plan will be developed to support the implementation of this Strategic Plan and the specific actions required to deliver it. In addition a number of separate strategies and plans will be developed to focus on specific areas identified within the Key Performance Areas.

Football Operations

Goal: For the Tweed Heads Seagulls to consistently play finals football in all competitions


  • Pathways – develop a Pathways Strategy for regional club players to play with the Seagulls and for Seagulls players to play in the NRL, State of Origin and test level
  • Recruitment and retention – develop a player retention and recruitment strategy to include clubs, schools and the local community
  • Juniors – develop a strategic approach to affiliation with the Seagulls JRL club and junior clubs in the region
  • High Performance Culture – provide a holistic approach to developing a high performance culture for players and football department staff to include a high performance unit that partners with our feeder club to identify and monitor the development and ongoing performance of identified players
  • Football staff development – invest in the coaching, performance and operations staff development to the most professional standards and best practice, and retain staff within the club
  • Best practice – adopt high performance practices in the areas of sports science, sports medicine, sports psychology, sports technology, skills acquisition and coaching methodology
  • Player conditions – continually audit facilities and programs to ensure first rate player conditions
  • Rounded players – increase player development resources and expand programs that assist players to become rounded individuals with life skills including career, education and wellbeing support
  • Womens’ Rugby League – develop Seagulls Women’s Rugby League Strategy
  • Ethnically and Culturally Diverse – develop a strategy to attract players from diverse cultures


  • Develop a successful State Cup program on and off the field to reach the semi-finals by 2018.
  • Under 18s, Colts and A-Grade to achieve consistent top four finishes
  • Develop a clear pathways strategy before the 2018 season ends and seek funds to employ a Pathways Officer
  • Our club will attract and retain the best athletes by providing first rate player conditions and career pathways
  • Player retention at least 50% from 2018 onwards
  • Seagulls will be seen as the club for children and seniors from the region to aspire to play for
  • For Tweed Heads Seagulls to field a women’s team for the 2019 season
  • Develop strategic relationships in place with clubs in Tweed and Southern Gold Coast by start of 2019 season and reviewed annually
  • Strategic relationship with Gold Coast Titans reviewed and formalised before each season and reviewed annually
  • A staff member will had responsibility to implement Education/Welfare activities in accordance with QRL Standards

Commercial Operations

Goal: Sustainable commercial growth and profitability for football and non-football operations


  • Strategic Partnerships – review, strengthen and formalise strategic partnerships with key partners:
    • Tweed Shire Council
    • Norths
    • Seagulls
    • Gold Coast Titans
    • QRL
  • Develop new strategic partnerships including with The State Government
  • Grant Funding – develop Grant Funding strategy to fund new facilities and continually improve existing facilities
  • Sponsorship – develop sponsorship strategy and targets for 2018 season and review annually
  • Revenue Streams – review all current revenue streams (e.g. merchandise) and investigate new ones (e.g. membership, events) and develop strategy to maximise profitability for all commercial offerings
  • Staff – Ensure sufficient staff resources to develop and implement strategies


  • Non grant club revenue to grow by 10% annually
  • Sponsorship to grow by 15% p.a. from 2019
  • Secure government and other funding to allow us to build the new facilities at Piggabeen Sports Complex
  • Generate/develop a merchandise revenue sales stream by 2019
  • Crowd average to grow to by 15% annually from 2018

Finance and Governance

Goal: Financial strength through sound finance and governance practices


  • Profitability – maximising profitability of all commercial offerings
  • Governance and Risk – adopt best practice corporate governance and risk
  • Revenue – Investigating additional non-football revenue streams
  • Financial Management – review Financial Management practices and identify areas for improvement
  • Governance – review Seagulls constitution and governance practices, structures and frameworks to ensure they align with industry best practice
  • Business processes – leverage best practice (QRL and Titans) finance, governance and business processes to create efficiencies.
  • Risks – identify risks and implement risk mitigation strategies
  • Technology – investigate use of technologies to gain efficiencies


  • To deliver revenue, sponsorship and sales growth as per targets in ‘Commercial Operations’ (above)
  • Compliance with QRL governance, policy and operational standards in 2018
  • Being recognised as a leader in financial management and corporate governance and risk management with policies, procedures, structures and frameworks consistent with industry best practice
  • High level control of expenditure across the Club
  • Present a financial report to the board at each monthly meeting
  • Be recognised a leader in adoption of technology to improve operations and customer satisfaction

Fan and Community Engagement

Goal: For our fans and all members of the Seagulls community to love their Seagulls experience



  • Increasing customer interaction via a healthy and engaging online culture, and revitalised relationships with our fans
  • Expand the Seagulls presence in Tweed and Southern GC through a strategic Comms and Marketing campaign around key matches and events
  • Develop and implement a media strategy that profiles Seagulls in non-sporting media, events and activities
  • Fans are surveyed on an annual basis to determine their level of satisfaction with their Seagulls experience


  • Develop a membership strategy and program that focuses on recruitment, retention and member servicing and review annually
  • Allocate sufficient resources to ensure program’s success and high member retention rates
  • Establish a database/CRM for supporters, volunteers, members, sponsors and players and investigate opportunities to leverage partner databases e.g. QRL, feeder clubs and Titans


  • To develop a strategy to recruit, retain and educate sufficient volunteers to support club operations and membership participation growth
  • Ensure there is dedicated paid employee support for volunteers
  • Volunteers will have the competencies necessary to fulfil their specific roles within the club and provide them with a safe and supportive environment

Communications, Media and Social Media

  • Develop and Implement a Communications and Marketing and a Media and Social Media strategy that considers how to engage fans and our community through innovative database management, digital marketing initiatives, and investment in the quality and growth of our online, digital and social media presence and building a detailed knowledge of fan interaction
  • Review club image including logo and website
  • Develop communications, marketing, media and social media plans and update on an annual basis and ensure adequate resources exist implement the plans

Social Inclusion

  • Develop a Community Engagement Strategy that considers, amongst other things, better ways to engage women, the local community, children and members of ethnically and culturally diverse communities
  • Particular consideration will be given to the low socio-economic issues in Tweed, gender and cultural diversity, disability and mental and physical health – notably obesity
  • Ensure that adequate resources exist in the club to implement the strategy
  • Develop a Seagulls Ambassadors program to utilise former Seagulls players and Tweed/SE Gold Coast based stars of the game as ambassadors
  • Continue to partner with Government and NGO’s to resource Country week



  • To increase the attendances at Intrust Super Cup, A-Grade and Reserves by 15% year on year to 2022.
  • Increasing the profile of Seagulls in non-sporting media, events and activities
  • Co-ordinate three community awareness themed rounds of the Intrust Super Cup to include family entertainment (e.g. food trucks)
  • Attract and develop community based participation


  • Launch membership program
  • Grow membership by 20% year on year to 2022
  • Host club and social events throughout the playing season with the aim for enjoyment, family and responsible fun both on and off field


  • Recruit and train new volunteers each season and ensure the club consistently and continuously has enough active volunteers to assist with club operations and activities
  • Leverage community networks, government, NGO’s and partners (e.g. Titans) to increase volunteers numbers and retention

Communications, Media and Social Media

  • Launch new website by start 2018 season
  • Become an Intrust Super Cup leader in digital media innovation and communication
  • Ensuring consistency of the Tweed Heads Seagulls brand, and developing integrated marketing strategies
  • Increasing the profile of Seagulls in non-sporting media, events and activities

Social Inclusion

  • Seagulls will be recognised as a club that is loved by and engages with all in the community and with a diverse fan base that welcomes new members
  • People from indigenous an culturally and ethnically diverse communities will have an affinity with the club and will embrace the opportunities it provides for their involvement
  • Seagulls commitment to gender diversity is supported by skills development programs and reflected by a greater representation of women at all levels
  • Seagulls will commit to creating opportunities and support for people with disabilities
  • Seagull will develop programs to promote healthy lifestyles with a particular focus on fighting the obesity epidemic and mental health issues

People and Culture

Goal: To attract the best people to Seagulls and have a culture that all of staff, players, members and fans align themselves with


  • People – attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining talented and high performing people across all football and non-football operations to build capabilities and talent and retain a loyal and enthusiastic workforce
  • HR Practices – ensure we are dedicated to creating, updating and delivering comprehensive policies and programs
  • Code of Conduct – annual review of the Seagulls operations and practices to ensure that they continue to align with the QRL & National code of conduct
  • OH&S – ensure OH&S best practice in in place at the club


  • Adopt and promote the new values-based national code of conduct.
  • Consistent player, staff and supporter satisfaction of 80%
  • To be an employer of choice

Facilities and Infrastructure

Goal: To provide a best practice training and playing facilities for our players, coaches and staff and a venue that the community, our supporters, members, partners, sponsors and can be proud of


  • Funding – develop a funding strategy for these facility objectives
  • Piggabeen Sports Complex – develop a masterplan for Piggabeen
  • Tweed Shire Council – develop and formalise a partnership with Tweed Shire Council and secure their support for the masterplan
  • State and Federal Government – develop a partnership with local Members of Parliament (state and federal) to work identify and secure funding opportunities
  • Establish a Facility Management Plan that incorporates:
    • Signage
    • Grounds maintenance
    • Building maintenance
    • Electrical audits
    • Booking procedures
  • Shared Utilisation – develop partnerships and agreements with other clubs and community-based organisations for the utilisation of the facility


  • To develop Piggabeen Sports Complex into one of New South Wales’ leading regional sporting facilities.
  • To source funding and sponsorship for Stage Two (‘Multi-Purpose Facility’) of the proposed upgrade to Piggabeen
  • To have the new Multi-Purpose Facility (including gym, office, toilets and scorers box) built by 2019.
  • Continue to seek funding for additional improvements to Piggabeen Sports Complex such as dressing sheds & car parking
  • To sign a 3-5 year agreement with Tweed Shire Council for a lease on Piggabeen Sports Complex – to align with competition agreement with QRL