The New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) has launched a pilot 10-week Tackle Safe Rugby League program in Blacktown which has attracted 70 newcomers to the game, including more than 20 children of Indian descent.
NSWRL Head of Football Yvette Downey said the Blacktown Try League program, for children aged four to nine, aims to introduce Rugby League to non-traditional markets and provide children with a fun, safe, positive Rugby League experience.
“For the 20 Indian children from the Punjabi Language School, the program also provides a way to integrate into the local Australian sporting culture and community,” Downey said.
“Our participation research also shows us there is interest in the community in other options to be involved in the game outside of the traditional season-long weekly competition structures.”
The Blacktown Try League program runs on Wednesday nights throughout the school term at Cornucopia Reserve, Glenwood.
The first six weeks of the program focuses on the revolutionary Tackle Safe program, teaching participants the basics of safe landing, low-level contact and preliminary tackling techniques.
The sessions conclude with basic Rugby League skills sessions, and non-contact Rugby League Tag games. Following this, the final four weeks of the program will see players participate in small sided Rugby League games.
Downey said the Blacktown City Council is very supportive of the program, having been involved with the NSWRL during the planning and development stages of the initiative.
If this program is successful, the NSWRL will look to run a similar program in the Chatswood area for the Chinese community.
Already there are several children of Chinese heritage playing Rugby League for the Willoughby Roos, and in other Rugby League clubs.