SIX-A-SIDE, one pass, six-tackle sets and quarters, rather than thirds, are just some of the changes set to be introduced to junior footy in a bid to boost participation rates across the region.
Country Rugby League regional manager Peter Clarke said the changes, which will be implemented from the under 6s age group right across the state, have been backed by the Rams region.
Coming into play in 2017, junior league stars of the future will get the benefit of longer time periods with the ball with little consequence for mistakes – a chance rule is also being introduced for forward passes, knock-ons and running into touch at an under 6s level.
Clarke said the main focus on the changes was to make the game more enjoyable for junior age groups, with the non-competitive nature of the competitions across the Western Division extending from under 6s through to under 9s.
“And in Group 14, they’re stretching it to include under 10s next season,” Clarke added.
MAJOR CHANGES for under 6s and under 7s:
Clarke said making the changes to junior league known now, five months out from the start of the season, ensures there’s no excuses come kick-off.
Announcing the changes, the NRL added it will continue its policy of positive and appropriate off-field behaviour amongst parents, spectators and fellow participants.
"Children and young adults learn from those around them and we are committed to ensuring that those in our game, no matter what level and age, are respectful at all times," NRL chief of football Brian Canavan said.
“A lot of the time the trouble from the sidelines is because parents don’t know the rules. This is a means of making sure the communication is there,” Clarke echoed the sentiment.
Clarke was confident the changes would help facilitate junior league participation, which is still strong in the Western Rams area.
“In general, our numbers are steady, and certainly the growth of league tag has helped those numbers,” Clarke said.
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