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Fittler, Hilder set recruitment challenge for Hogs tour

A record-breaking recruitment drive will be the key focus for Westpac NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder when they embark on the two-week Hogs tour of regional NSW on Sunday 5 February.

The annual tour, which will also involve True Blues Ian Schubert, Craig Wing and Boyd Cordner, and Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues captain Kezie Apps, will take in more than 5200km and 11 free football clinics at towns as far south as Albury; to Bourke in western NSW; and Lismore in northern NSW.

Other towns being visited include Dubbo, Walgett, Glen Innes, Tamworth, Harden, Hay, Cooma and Moruya.

“Rugby League has been a massive part of my life since I was a kid and I’m very grateful for all the opportunities it has provided me with,” Fittler said.

“It’s such a great sport that teaches important qualities around teamwork, trust and leadership and you really do end up with friends for life from it.

“It’s my dream to see every kid in NSW with a Rugby League ball in their hand and I encourage all players – whether you’ve been a Rugby League participant all your life, or you’re signing up for the first time – to register with your local club for the 2023 season.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the NSW fans around our state over the next two weeks and I’m confident that with your support we can turn 2023 into another record-breaking season for the NSWRL.”

The 2021 season, which saw community sport return to the field after the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, was record-breaking for the NSWRL compared with the last non-affected COVID year in 2019.

The total number of participants rose by more than five per cent to 107,528, male participants recorded their highest growth in six years, and female participation broke through the 20,000 mark (22,810) for the first time in history.

The NSWRL also enjoyed another strong season last year in the wake of the severe wet weather and flooding which ravaged the state, with almost 106,000 participants signing up to play the game including another record number of female participants (23,203).

Hilder said she had been impressed by the support for women’s Rugby League and urged even more participants to get involved this season.

“The growth in the women’s game has been stunning and it is great that there is now a pathway for girls to progress all the way from the grassroots to the elite level,” Hilder said.

“I’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received, and I’d love to see even more players sign up to keep women’s Rugby League on an upwards spiral.”

There are many ways for participants to get involved with Rugby League in 2023 including traditional (tackle), Blues Tag, Try League for Culturally Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, Wheelchair Rugby League, and Physical Disability Rugby League.

This season will also see the second phase of the Rugby League Ready program which is the first step for participants to learn the basic skills of the game including running, passing, catching, tackling, and scoring a try. The program, which is a great introduction to the game, has been endorsed by both Fittler and Hilder.

Click here to register for the free NSWRL Hogs clinic in your area.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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