For new Dubbo Westside president Chad Parkes, rugby league has taken a back seat since taking on the job.
The Rabbitohs committee has been spending most of its time with Westside stalwart Robbie Olsen, who remains in hospital battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
In early October the 36-year-old Olsen, who was a player-coach when the men in red and green won the 2015 Group 11 reserve grade title, was admitted to hospital for day surgery to remove a lump on his kidney.
A mistake during the procedure saw him placed in an induced coma and airlifted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.
Since then he has been diagnosed with Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma (ACC), a cancer that sees 1-2 people per million diagnosed.
“The focus has been on Robbie Olsen and supporting his family,” Parkes said, stepping up to president after years on the committee.
“There’s no major signings and we’ll wait until after this weekend for things to settle down and then we can announce coaches.”
This weekend sees the Robbie Olsen Benefit Night being held at the Dubbo RSL.
The event is an auction and fundraiser to help Olsen and his family with the ongoing costs.
While footy hasn’t been the focus, Parkes still has plenty of pans for Westside moving forward.
A club which failed to win a match in first grade last season, Parkes said there’s no doubt other sides may have better players than the Rabbitohs in 2018.
But that’s not a concern.
“Commitment is paramount and for me the main driving factor is seeing people committed and having that hard work rewarded,” he said.
“We want a return to loyalty too. The players we target might not be the best players but we’re targeting role models and leaders in the community.
The players we target might not be the best players but we’re targeting role models and leaders.Chad Parkes
“We might not be the best when it comes to playing footy but our club has got a lot of other positives.”
Parkes also spoke about the club’s “social responsibility” and the role the Rabbitohs can play in the community.
As well as running events in the past, the Rabbitohs are also working to connect with more social, health, employment and educational services and initiatives to help those people in the club and community.
“I can see the positives and it’s something I’m proud of and passionate about,” Parkes said.
The Robbie Olsen Benefit Night starts from 6pm Saturday at the Dubbo RSL.