JU­NIOR FOOTY SOARS

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE -

PAS­SION­ATE sup­port­ers of lo­cal rugby league clubs across the south west cor­ner gath­ered in Charleville last month, tak­ing part in a fo­rum to shape the fu­ture of their game.

The Queens­land Rugby League-hosted event brought the group of 32 vol­un­teers to­gether to share their feed­back on cur­rent and fu­ture chal­lenges with staff from the QRL and NRL.

In to­tal, 32 del­e­gates from foot­ball clubs in Black­all, Au­gathella, Charleville, St Ge­orge, Wan­doan, the West­ern Downs and the Cen­tral West were in at­ten­dance, and ex­changed knowl­edge from their own ex­pe­ri­ences to help each other.

QRL re­gional gen­eral man­ager Glen Ot­t­away was spear­head­ing dis­cus­sions at the fo­rum, and said the del­e­gates’ pas­sion for rugby league shone through im­mensely.

“What we found was that most clubs are re­ally-well sup­ported, both cul­tur­ally and fi­nan­cially, which typ­i­fies the love for the game in the West,” Ot­t­away said.

“In say­ing that, a lot of clubs are strug­gling to re­cruit and re­tain new play­ers and vol­un­teers, mak­ing it hard for clubs on game days.

“In 2019, we hope to pro­vide fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and devel­op­ment to clubs in the west, en­sur­ing the game con­tin­ues to pros­per on and off the field.”

De­spite some chal­lenges for clubs, a pos­i­tive sign in re­cent sea­sons has been a huge jump in ju­nior par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Over the past three years, the num­ber of kids play­ing out­back footy has risen by 38% with most of that growth cen­tred in the St Ge­orge, Charleville and Roma ar­eas.

A ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to ju­nior par­tic­i­pa­tion has been the Adrian Vowles Cup, which an­tic­i­pates a fur­ther growth of 25 per cent.

PHOTO: QRL

LOOK­ING UP: The out­look is pos­i­tive for south west clubs, with par­tic­i­pa­tion ris­ing dur­ing the past three sea­sons.

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