Record numbers of children are expected to sign up for Junior Rugby League teams in western Sydney this year.
The NRL has launched its new junior recruitment campaign, with the goal of continuing to grow junior player numbers in every local Junior Rugby League Club across the country.
Rugby League has 126,025 registered junior club players, making up 7988 teams which belong to 1300 Junior Rugby League clubs nationwide, with 2012 recording the highest number of registered participants in the 6-12 years age group in the history of the game.
Michael Riskins of the Kellyville Bushrangers Club President said young children are particularly enthusiastic about league every year.
"Every year we have three or four under 6s teams ... it's very encouraging ... and a lot of those players stay," Mr Riskins said.
Watch our video about the Kellyville Bushrangers, filmed by Carlos Furtado below:
Andrew Hill, NRL General Manager for League Integration and Game Development said junior clubs are a vital part of the fabric that makes rugby league "the greatest game of all".
"We are committed to providing the best possible experience for every child,” Mr Hill said.
“The junior leagues are where our elite players begin their careers, where so many of our fans come from, and where our children and their families can get out and have fun every weekend.’”
Children can begin playing competitive rugby league from as young as six years of age and junior teams typically range from under 7s through to under 18s.
Rugby league focuses on a whole-of-game program, the day your child joins a club, is the day he or she starts playing rugby league while developing skills including try scoring, evasion, passing, and kicking.
Natalie Walka of Seven Hills, is not only a working mum of two young boys, 12-year- old Matthew and seven-year-old Daniel who play league, her husband Michael Walka coaches and she is the president of the St Anthony’s Girraween Eagles JRLFC.
“Being part of a junior rugby league club has been fantastic for our family,” Ms Walka said.
“We’re involved with a great little club, have developed some terrific friendships and it’s simply a wonderful community to be a part of.
“We spend quality time together and everyone has a role at the club.
“The boys are spending time outdoors, getting fit and playing a well organised sport in a safe and fun environment.
“They’re also learning great life skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship, resilience and humility which is also very important to us.
“For us, the footy season is full on, but we love it.”