By Michael Hillier (QRL Media)
Queensland Rugby League has recorded its highest community participation level in six years, with 62,330 players signing on to experience the thrill of the state’s leading sport in 2021.
Confirmation of the increase follows a successful period for the game in Queensland across male and female competitions, pathways and programs.
Recent highlights include:
- The success of Activate! Queensland Country Week, where all 14 Intrust Super Cup clubs engaged with local communities in Quilpie, Chinchilla, Murgon, Atherton, Richmond, Dysart and Gladstone
- The Queensland Rugby League Community Awards, in which the QRL has celebrated the achievements of volunteers and grassroots clubs, like the Northern Districts’ Robert Redfern, who regularly devotes 40 hours each week to his beloved local league
- The quality of play in the BHP Premiership with 16 players from this competition going on to represent the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons, who beat New South Wales for the second-straight year in State of Origin
- The celebration of indigenous culture and reconciliation surrounding the North Queensland United versus Queensland Outback men’s and women’s matches at Tully
- The final of the inaugural XXXX League Championship which saw the Brisbane Poinsettias defeat the Toowoomba Clydesdales in a high-quality representative match
QRL managing director Robert Moore congratulated everyone involved in these games and initiatives.
“This is just a small snapshot of some of the highlights from the past few months,” Moore said.
“We’ve had our challenges, some of which have been well publicised, but what needs to be celebrated is the joy the game has brought to the majority, and the unique opportunities that many participants have embraced as part of their rugby league journey.
“There’s still a lot to look forward to as well with finals matches just around the corner for our community leagues and two of our statewide competitions – the Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts.”
Moore praised the efforts of QRL staff and the game’s volunteer network for the growth in community club registrations.
“This is the highest level of participation in the last six years, recognising that there is also an additional section of participants who are not captured in this data but play in school or diversity and inclusion events,” Moore said.
QRL community rugby league general manager Glenn Ottaway said the largest growth in playing participation was in the 13 to 18 years age group (six per cent increase).
“Pleasingly, senior participation (19 years and older) also increased by three per cent with 14,970 registrations this year,” Ottaway said.
“This figure ranked as our second highest in the past six years, only behind the total of 15,053 in 2018.”
Ottaway said other community highlights were:
- Sixteen per cent growth in Toowoomba Senior Rugby League
- The overall performance of Rugby League Gold Coast (senior and junior) with seven per cent growth
- Growth at junior levels in Roma (four per cent), Mount Isa (26 per cent) and Townsville (six per cent)
Ottaway also noted that leagues who were early adopters of the Player Development Framework had performed strongly in the five to seven years demographic.
These areas were Gold Coast (12 per cent), Toowoomba (10 per cent) and Mackay (three per cent).
Note: All growth percentage comparisons are 2021 compared to 2019.