Small towns produce more pro players
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.