The NRL Player Development Framework

The NRL Player Development Framework

The rugby league Player Development Framework is a plan to combine and trial the best and most successful initiatives being used by Australian junior rugby league clubs. The trial will take place this year in Victorian junior competitions as well as in South East Queensland.

18 Month Registration Policy

For the 2019 season, junior players registered in NRL Vic competitions who are born between July 1 and December 31 may apply to play one year below their age group. This idea is targeted at children who may be struggling in their age group and may be late-developers, new to the game or lack confidence.

This provision has NOT been introduced to provide an opportunity for a player to apply under this policy and dominate in an age group or division.

Parents who want their children to play under this policy can apply after usual registration. Acceptance will be based on a set criteria.

Changes to Finals Series

Over 2019 to 2020 various changes will be made to how finals series are run for junior age groups. The age groups affected are the under 11s to under 14s.

In 2019 the NRL Victoria under 11 competition will not include finals, whilst the 2020 NRL Victoria under 12 competition will also not include finals.

In 2019 the NRL Victoria under 12 and 13 competitions will not play a traditional finals series, instead having a 1st vs second playoff for the premiership. In 2020 this will also include under 14s.

A gala day will be held following the regular season, where 1st and 2nd will play off for the title. On that day 3rd will play 4th, 5th will play 6th etc. This allows everyone to get more game time.

In 2019 under 14s and up will play a regular finals series.

The reasons for these changes is that children are quitting rugby league due to the pressurised environment. Players can lose enjoyment when teams are just focused on winning and by delaying finals it helps to create a more respectful, supportive environment.

Development Competitions (Under 6-11)

In 2019 the under 6-11 age groups will be played as development competitions. These will be non-competitive and allow coaches to focus entirely on developing players in all aspects.

The reason for doing this is that when there is a strong focus on winning, a premiership can be placed ahead of a child’s enjoyment. By delaying the premiership focus, it can ensure children are part of a more respectful and supportive environment.

This concept helps children develop their physical skills, as well as the mental skills that lead to continued participation.

Focusing on player development will also ensure children who are born at the start of the year, do not have too much of an advantage over others, at the start of their rugby league career.

 The Tacklesafe program

The tacklesafe program prepares participants to learn the correct and safe techniques for tackle rugby league. The program is six sessions long and is delivered by accredited coaches. The tacklesafe program will be compulsory upon entry to rugby league.

Parents are usually concerned about varying size, strength and ability of their children when taking up rugby league. The tacklesafe program aims to reduce these effects.

Participants will gradually learn how to tackle the safe and correct way, culminating in a modified, tackle version of rugby league. The program aims to create better tackling techniques for players to take into their careers.

League Tag Competitions

In Victoria under 6s will play League Tag in 2019.

As they progress into rugby league, they will go through the tacklesafe program, as mentioned above.

Kids have a greater chance of enjoying League Tag as they all develop at different stages. They will be able to learn the basics before progressing to tackle.

All successful sports have modified junior games, because ‘having fun’ is the most important way of getting kids to come back. New Zealand has had Rugby Tag for 15+ years for under 6s and 7s and the All Blacks are one of the most successful sporting teams in the world.

Age Dispensation – 2019 Season

In 2019 people of the following age groups may apply to play an age group down if they are the following weights.

U7 - 21kg or under may play U6

U8 - 23kg or under may play U7

U9 - 26kg or under may play U8

U10 - 29kg or under may play U9

U11 - 33kg or under may play U10

U12 - 37kg or under may play U11

U13 - 42kg or under may play U12

U14 - 48kg or under may play U13

U15 - 53kg or under may play U14

U16 - 57kg or under may play U15

U17 - 61kg or under may play U16

U18 - 65kg or under may play U17


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