Inspirational Group 19 and Narwan Eels leader Candita Collins, Leichardt Wanderers President Luke Wright, and Moree Junior League President Steve Cory were among an impressive list of speakers at the NSWRL Community Rugby League Conference in Sydney Olympic Park last weekend.
Retention was the theme of the two-day conference which brought together 120 volunteers, League and club officials from across the state to exchange ideas and experiences.
Penrith Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron, NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder, NRL Women’s Pathways Strategy Manager Jess Skinner, NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden along with three former NRL stars – Dene Helatau, Adam Perry and Ashton Sims – were also among the presenters.
Topics discussed included the retention of players and volunteers, tips on how to better market clubs to increase revenue and sponsorship, latest updates on concussion management, implementing tackle-ready skills for juniors, bringing more females to positions both on-and-off the field, and practical advice on how to make clubs more community-friendly.
NSWRL Community Football Manager Peter Clarke said conference participants walked away with valuable, up-to-date, and practical information, insights and ideas for the 2024 season ahead of player registrations opening on Friday 1 December.
“The best way to retain players and volunteers is to foster strong and healthy clubs and competitions,” he said.
Participation rates for both genders enjoyed healthy growth this season, and that needed to continue, he added.
“The women’s game continues to climb with 26,187 registered in 2023 – another annual record – along with 86,580 men which are easily our strongest numbers since pre-COVID.
“With pleasing results in teenage male participation 13 to 18 years, we saw growth for a third consecutive year, or 22 per cent higher than in 2022.”