Following the resounding success of the Monarch Blues Tag Championship last weekend, True Blue Nathan Hindmarsh has thrown his support behind the new initiative from NSWRL and praised its ongoing commitment to grassroots Rugby League.
Monarch Blues Tag offers the perfect transition for those looking to play Rugby League in a non-contact format and Hindmarsh believes the approachable nature of the new competition will be the perfect fit for players of all ages.
"It's an awesome idea in just the fact that it's non-contact [because] not everyone is about contact but they want to know the Rugby League rules. It's [about] playing a game with Rugby League rules and I think it's the perfect introduction for any age group," Hindmarsh told NSWRL.com.au.
"It's a great way to start off your career in Rugby League."
A veteran of 330 first grade games, 17 appearances for NSW and 23 Tests for Australia, Hindmarsh's NRL career is one of the most decorated in recent memory which was built on a genuine love for the game.
He made his debut as an 18-year-old after years of hard work having been a part of the Parramatta Eels junior development sides, however, still wishes there was an opportunity to play Rugby League from an earlier age.
"I didn't start playing Rugby League until I was 12, and I'm sure if there was a [Monarch] Blues Tag around in my area I would have done the same thing," he said.
"I would of played that type of sport first and I think it's a great initiative and it's a sport that is growing as well."
Monarch 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.
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.