HASTINGS Valley Vikings hope a new initiative with the New South Wales Rugby Union is the first step towards improving grassroots development.
For the upcoming season, junior players will have the option of attending New South Wales Waratahs matches in Sydney.
While the club was only offered a limited number of season passes to hand out to players, they were hopeful each junior player would get to at least one Super Rugby match.
Vikings junior registrar Scott McManus said any player would be eligible to contact the secretary of the club if they planned to visit Sydney.
“Some of the kids are already planning trips to see the Waratahs this season which is great,” he said.
“The idea is that as many of the kids will be able to use the passes as possible with a paying adult.”
Other professional sporting teams such as the Sydney Sixers, Newcastle Jets, Sydney Swans and Penrith Panthers have all visited the area.
Rugby union hasn’t had a lot of chance to replicate the success of those visits recently, but McManus hoped that could change in coming years.
“I know in the past we’ve had rugby camps in the school holidays,” he said.
Some of the kids are already planning trips to see the Waratahs this season which is great.Scott McManus
“It gets people excited seeing those teams like we’ve had (with the other sports) around town.
“As a parent, I’ve only been involved for one season and I know my son knows who the Waratahs are which is a good start.
“When I was a young bloke I didn’t know who they were.”
Accessibility can also be attributed as being a key factor in the decline of rugby union numbers in recent years.
“You used to be able to watch Wallabies matches on free to air, but now you have to have subscription television,” McManus said.
Players are encouraged to sign up with the $120 junior registration fee to also cover insurance.
Families will receive $100 back from a government incentive that aims to get kids active again.
Players who pay their fees will receive a club bag, polo shirt, shorts, socks and training shirt.