Small towns pro­duce more pro play­ers

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT -

THEY breed them tough in the coun­try.

That’s why rugby league play­ers who started play­ing in coun­try ar­eas are over­rep­re­sented in the NRL, Queens­land Rugby League cen­tral di­vi­sion op­er­a­tions man­ager David Pearce said.

“If you have 100 kids in a de­vel­op­ment group, only two or three of them will make it right to the very top,” he said.

“To make it there you have to have some­thing ex­cep­tional. And 90% of the sport is men­tal, so that’s when that coun­try tough­ness comes in.

“Coun­try rugby league play­ers are a tougher breed, both men­tally and phys­i­cally.”

New re­search from the Univer­sity of Syd­ney backs up Mr Pearce’s tes­ti­mony with sur­pris­ing statis­tics.

Re­searcher Dr Stephen Cob­ley ex­am­ined the ages and first clubs of NRL play­ers be­tween 1998 and 2010 and dis­cov­ered that size does mat­ter – at least when it comes to the pop­u­la­tion of the town in which their first team is based.

He found that 16% of NRL play­ers come from towns of less than 10,000 peo­ple, while only 6.57% of play­ers come from ci­ties with more than one mil­lion peo­ple.

In con­trast, only 8% of our pop­u­la­tion lives in towns with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 10,000 and 21% live in ci­ties of more than one mil­lion.

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