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Manly Minis sets kids up for Rugby League journey

There’s something special brewing up on Sydney’s northern beaches with a magnificent turnout for the Manly Minis introductory Rugby League program.

It’s the first time Manly Warringah District Junior Rugby League has hosted the session which runs for four weeks and incorporates the 12 clubs from that area.

It’s hoped that when the month-long program concludes next week, all 41 children aged 4-6 years-old who took part will sign up with one of those clubs to continue their Rugby League journey.

NSWRL Club Support Coordinator Danielle Kifooti said NRL game development officers and NSWRL staff combine to put the sessions on each Wednesday at Narrabeen.

“This program is for kids who haven’t played the game before, so it’s aimed at really increasing our participation at this grassroots level,” she said.

“At the end of program all the kids receive a letter with the contact details of their local club, based on their home address so everyone in the district will benefit from the Manly Minis.”

The Sea Eagles’ NRL club promoted the recruitment program on their own social channels, which obviously helped in the turnout, Kifooti said.

“We wanted to do this at a district level and not just an individual club level,” she said.

“The Sea Eagles are popular and having their backing was good for us. We’ve even got the Manly Mascot coming to our final session next week.”

Every child received a players’ pack with a T-shirt, drink bottle, football, and other information about the game.

“The kids are doing some of the drills from the NSWRL’s ‘Rugby League Ready’ program,” Kifooti said.

“This gives them an introduction to passing, catching and now that we’re at week-three and week-four in the schedule, there’s a little bit of tackling - they learn that with positioning and safe-landing techniques.

“So, all those basic skills let them see how much fun our game is and we then can direct them to their local club. Hopefully we get them to pick up a ball for the whole season.”

Parents have been involved too as the game development officers get them to help out in the drills.

“It’s been a really great experience for everyone. We’ve got a great game so why not get out there and promote it a bit more,” Kifooti said.





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