Lit­tle Jets ready for take off

MINCH­IN­BURY JETS LEAD­ING THE INI­TIA­TIVE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Jarvis

Play­ers as young as three will get their first taste of rugby league dur­ing a new trial pro­gram aimed at chang­ing mis­con­cep­tions about the game.

LIT­TLIES as young as three will learn how to pass and tackle as part of a trial pro­gram aimed at com­bat­ing the belief rugby league is a dan­ger­ous sport.

The Minch­in­bury Jets will be the first club in Pen­rith and Dis­trict Rugby League to take part in the ini­tia­tive.

The non-com­pet­i­tive course, called the Lit­tle Jets Pro­gram, runs for 10 weeks and al­lows kids aged 3-5 to learn the skills of touch, tag or tackle football be­fore mak­ing the de­ci­sion to join a club. The Minch­in­bury Jets will run its own pro­gram this year - start­ing at the end of this month - which will be in­sured by the NRL.

The NRL will then take over the pro­gram from next sea­son on.

Minch­in­bury Jets reg­is­trar Lisa Grisedale, who is in charge of the pro­gram, said there was a def­i­nite stigma about rugby league among par­ents.

“Soc­cer has the lit­tle kick­ers and the AFL go into all the schools whereas rugby league is kind of fall­ing be­hind,” Ms Grisedale said.

“I want to kind of en­cour­age the par­ents to teach them to see that there is a safe-play code.”

Ms Grisedale said she had been try­ing to start a pro­gram like this for years.

“I orig­i­nally want to start a pro­gram for my son be­cause he was too young to play,” she said.

NRL school pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor Matt Schu­bert said the pro­gram aimed to en­cour­age par­ents who were un­fa­mil­iar with rugby league to let their kids try it.

“We want to change their pre­con­ceived ideas that it is dan­ger­ous so they can do this in­tro­duc­tory pro­gram,” Mr Schu­bert said. “A lot of clubs in (the) south coast have done it and they have been re­ally suc­cess­ful.”

Pen­rith Dis­trict Ju­nior Rugby League gen­eral man­ager Phil Cum­mings said he sup­ported the idea.

“I think it’s a good idea and it gives the kids a lit­tle pro­gram be­fore they come to play next sea­son,” he said. The ju­niors will play with no more than six peo­ple on the field at once.

The Lit­tle Jets pro­gram will run for an hour on Wed­nes­day nights from Septem­ber 30 through to De­cem­ber 3. Reg­is­tra­tion for the 10week pro­gram is $100 and in­cludes a uni­form and the con­tri­bu­tion to the awards pre­sen­ta­tion at the end of the course.

De­tails: 0417 718 688.

Do you think rugby league has a bad rep­u­ta­tion among par­ents? @the­druitt

Pic­ture: DAVID SWIFT

Ash­ton, 3, Blair, 3, and In­di­anna Grisedale, 2, are ex­cited about the new league pro­gram.

Pic­ture: DAVID SWIFT

Ash­ton, 3, In­di­anna, 2, and Blair, 3, are gear­ing up for the com­ing Lit­tle Jets pro­gram.

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