Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and Harvey Norman Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder have joined forces to support the “Rugby League Ready” program, which will be the first step for Under 6s participants to learn the basic skills of the game before going on to become lifelong Rugby League players.
Fittler and Hilder took part in a training session with the Under 6s Mona Vale Raiders on Sydney’s northern beaches to help promote the program, which is based on a national strategy that will be introduced across NSW for the first time for the 2022 season.
“One of the most important things about 'Rugby League Ready' is concentrating on the basics, whether that's passing or tackling,” Fittler said.
“As I’ve watched the game of Rugby League progress, we’ve sometimes gone away from learning those basic skills which can set players of all ages up for success.
“This program is based around giving them a little more confidence and it’s a great concept.”
Hilder added the program would hopefully encourage even more girls to get involved with Rugby League after a record number of female participants signed up to play last year.
“The 'Rugby League Ready' program is a great way to introduce all girls and boys into the game of Rugby League and teach them the fundamentals of the game before easing into full contact,” Hilder said.
“It’s a great introduction and a great way for any kid at the age of six who wants to come along and experience the thrill of Rugby League.
“'Rugby League Ready' is an entry level, education program that teaches Under 6s the basic skills including catching and passing, grip, play-the-balls, running, tackling and scoring a try."
The program in NSW will see children learn and develop their skills with Monarch Blues Tag until 1 June before progressing after that date with a modified contact version of the game.
Team coaches will be guided by an NRL Development Coaching Mentor and the children will also learn important social skills including teamwork, leadership, determination and patience to assist with their confidence and Rugby League journey.
“Rugby League Ready aims at building confidence of boys and girls that are learning the game, emphasising enjoyment and focusing on fundamentals with our Under 6s,” NSW Community Rugby League Manager Peter Clarke said.
“Deliverers will introduce the basic skills like running, passing, tackling and stepping at training, and play a non-contact format, starting with Monarch Blues Tag in the first part of the season before progressing to tackle in the second half of the season.
“This is part of a national program, aimed at making more children ready for Rugby League, preparing them to become lifelong players.”
The program has been operating in Queensland and was trialled in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Ipswich last year, with 84 per cent of children involved showing improved confidence while 87 per cent enjoyed the experience.