In the mid-seventies a call went out to men of fitness, finesse and courage, a call to arms if you will, to come together to break the rugby drought in the southern NSW AFL stronghold of Albury. Since that humble beginning AWRUFC have developed into a powerhouse of rugby with the words Steamers Rugby Union now muttered with trepidation by even the most hardened of rugby women and men! Their mysterious origin brought on by a shout out for men of courage and finesse resulted in the fielding of a second grade, taking out back to back premierships in second grade 1976 and 1977.
In 1978 AWRUFC fielded their first grade side and joined the rugby ‘big boys’, making the grand final playoff in their debutante year. 1986 saw the Steamers adopt their nickname and meet WAC in the grand final, without success. ’87 saw three Steamers grades playing finals rugby. First grade wins its first premiership for the club and they become official Riverina Rugby Union Club Champions for the first time.
’89 and 90 saw Steamers teams in the finals hunt with second and third grade taking a grand final each and first grade missing out to Leeton. The early nineties were somewhat of a drought for first grade rugby on the Border, with second grade taking out back to back wins 90-91 and the drought breaking for first grade in ’97 with a premiership win for first and third grade. ’97 was auspicious as it also marked the entry of women into rugby on the Border. 2000 sees the birth of competitive junior rugby complemented nicely by the Steamers win Inaugural Southern Inland Competition.
2004 and ‘05 saw first grade as minor premiers with two loses in grand finals in two years. After a couple of lean years, Steamers are back in the finals under Don Cameron. Established for over forty years, the Steamers have grown into one of Southern Inland zone’s strongest clubs, winning premierships in 1987, 1999 and 2000, 2013 and 2015.
As we move into the 40th year we look back at our history and plan for our future, Steamers field senior rugby men and women and have a strong juniors base which is creating solid pathways in rugby union in the local area. Steamers have solid local presence and enjoy continued loyal support from local businesses through sponsorship and patronage. Steamers have a large following and robust membership base. In this our 40th year we are looking to build our senior grades to field three men’s and one women’s side as well as the full contingent in our junior ranks.