The NSWRL has secured paint accessories company Monarch to partner its Blues Tag program in 2019 to help deliver an exciting new form of non-contact competition for juniors and open age groups and expose even more people to Rugby League.
The deal comes as the NSWRL prepares to showcase the new format at a Representative Gala Day for Under-15 girls at Norford Park, Sefton, on Sunday (9 September) with 10 junior Rugby League districts represented including St George, Parramatta and Canterbury.
"We're proud to be partnering with the NSWRL in particular as a sponsor for the new Blues Tag Program," said ABC Marketing Manager Michelle Wee.
"At Monarch we believe in supporting the community and providing education on all aspects to help our future generations grow.
"We look forward to working closely with the NSWRL and the sporting kids and families of today."
NSWRL Head of Commercial Jodie Cross praised Monarch for throwing their support behind the latest grassroots initiative from the NSWRL.
"It's exciting to have Monarch on board for Blues Tag for the 2019 season," Cross said.
"Blues Tag is a fun and friendly way for kids and adults to enjoy the game of Rugby League and I'm confident the concept will be a success.
"It's great to see Monarch make an investment in a grassroots initiative at a time when the game is enjoying strong growth in participation numbers across NSW."
Blues Tag will be aimed at boys and girls aged 11 to 17, and men's and women's open age groups, and will run during the Rugby League season on a weekend day that will avoid clashes with full-tackle fixtures. The season has been designed to also avoid a clash with summer tag competitions.
Children will be taught the fundamental skills of the game including passing, catching, kicking and playing the ball without the pressure of having to tackle.
NSW and Australian representative Kezie Apps was happy to throw her support behind Blues Tag and said the concept had helped her rediscover her passion for Rugby League.
"I think it's a fantastic idea,"Apps said.
"I got back into playing Rugby League through League Tag and I fell back in love with the sport.
It's a great initiative that NSWRL has introduced and it's a good way for boys and girls to become familiar with the game of Rugby League without any concerns about contact.
"They'll be able to learn all the skills including catching and passing which will help them if they want to eventually transition into tackle, and if they don't it's still an awesome way to get into Rugby League and fall in love with it."
The latest initiative from the NSWRL continues a boom period for the game which has seen an explosion in the number of female participants and a modest increase for male players when all age groups are taken into account.