The NSWRL is aiming to unearth the next Rugby League star when it launches its Try League program for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across Western Sydney, South Western Sydney and Coffs Harbour.
The program aims to break down the barriers and social isolation for people from diverse communities and has received support from both the NSW State Government and the Federal Government. The program will run in six locations.
The first Try League will be held at Exeter Farm Reserve in Glenwood on Thursday 25 July and will run for eight weeks with other programs planned to engage CALD communities in Chatswood, Parramatta, Minchinbury, Rockdale and Fairfield.
“The Try League program is something the NSWRL is tremendously proud to be associated with,” NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said.
“We pride ourselves as an organisation as being diverse and inclusive and Try League aims to make culturally and linguistically diverse communities feel part of the Rugby League family, particularly for people of Indian and Chinese backgrounds.
“State of Origin is the most visible part of our business but we are a community-based organisation with over 100,000 participants across the state and our goal is to be relevant to every section of the community.
“I’m excited to see the outcomes of each program and I’m confident the kids will all have a lot of fun as they learn to play Rugby League in a non-competitive format.”
Try League is based on a successful pilot program which was run by the NSWRL in Blacktown in 2018 for Boys and Girls Under 9s and Under 7s, with 30 per cent of participants being of Indian descent.
The program discovered there was an appetite for Rugby League within the Indian community but no Rugby League officials had ever approached the community leaders to explain the benefits of the game and its ability to break down social barriers.
True Blue and NSWRL ambassador Craig Wing, who is of Filipino descent, said Try League was a wonderful initiative.
“Rugby League has just never been on the radar for many communities as it’s a game they have never really been exposed to before,” Wing said.
“Try League will introduce kids to the game so they’ll be able to try it and see if it’s something they enjoy.
"I ended up playing at the highest level from just getting out there and having a go and I’m sure there’s a whole lot of other kids out there who could do the same thing if they just give it a try.”