Unperturbed, Southern and Barker took it upon themselves to set the ball rolling. A member of the Old Edwardians (Old Eds) Rugby Football Club in Johannesburg at the time, Southern used all their available resources to give impetus to the process. To determine potential interest from players, coaches, and administrators, an advertisement was placed in the Saturday Star. This brought at least 40 interested individuals into the process. They further received support from Star reporter, Rodney Hartman, who as a follow-up, wrote an article outlining further plans and desires. He also assisted with advertising the next meeting, which was to become the inaugural meeting at Old Edwardians, where the SA Amateur Rugby League was constituted and leadership elected.
Started from a modest base, the SAARL operated from leased facilities with one paid official, Dave Southern, who was tasked with spreading the rugby league gospel in schools and the black townships. This was financed with the aid of income generated through a fundraising dinner. Limited financial support was also later received from the British Rugby League.
Southern served the organisation until June 1993. After leaving SARL, he, together with Barry Haslam, and others established Mini League – a developmental program aimed at growing rugby league’s local base. In 1999, after a 12 –year stay in South Africa, Dave Southern moved to Ireland, where he became the inaugural chairman of Rugby League Ireland after its establishment in 2000.
By Hendrik Snyders