RUGBY league participation levels have topped 100,000 for the 2018 season in figures released last month for the 2018 season.
Country Rugby League players made up almost 60,000 of the players while those in the NSW Rugby League competitions made up around 40,000.
The release of National Rugby League participation statistics revealed a number of positive outcomes for CRL.
One-third of all nationally registered players participated in CRL competitions, highlighted by the continual growth of female participation and positive results in several male participation segments.
CRL operations manager Bert Lowrie believed there was still work to be done to increase participation at all levels.
“Whilst overall results are positive, we acknowledge there are many individual challenges regional areas face at a community sports level,” he said.
“There is no singular approach that can be taken to growing both junior and senior participation.
Lowrie said the CRL will continue to work with the NRL and state leagues on the creation of a player development framework to develop solutions to support and grow participation at all levels.
“There is often doom and gloom associated with regional participation statistics,” he said.
“But the figures indicate there is cause for optimism and the continuation of positive results in the years to come.”
The continual growth of female rugby league continues to produce phenomenal results, with the implementation of CRL Women’s Nines competitions across the state providing the impetus for increased participation.
“We’re extremely proud of the pathways being created for female participants in regional NSW and to see a 28 per cent increase to over 11,700 registered players is a great achievement.
“On top of this we have over 2000 players competing in alternative program formats like the CRL Women’s Nines which has led to the formation of additional tackle competitions throughout the state.
“We’re already seeing a huge increase in players to wanting to enrol in the Nines this season.
“Teenage participation is a challenging area for all sports and despite a small decrease overall, we’ve seen an increase in male under-16 to 18’s numbers in three of our six regions and overall growth in male numbers in four of our six regions.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the NRL and state leagues on all areas of participation and we’re confident we’ll see improvements in teenage participation in the near future.”
Overall recruitment and retention rates also produced positive results with 12,656 new players introduced to the game and retention rates slightly up on national averages.