The NSWRL is offering an exciting new form of non-contact competition for juniors and open age groups next season in a move designed to attract even more people to Rugby League.
Blues Tag will target boys and girls aged 11 to 17 and will run during the Rugby League season on a weekend day to avoid clashes with full-tackle fixtures. The season has been designed to also avoid a clash with summer tag competitions.
A pilot over-35 men's program was trialled successfully so an open age group competition will also be offered.
Children will be taught the fundamental skills of the game including passing, catching, kicking and playing the ball without the pressure of having to tackle.
“We are pushing Blues Tag to remove contact and make the game accessible to even more people via integration into existing club structures,” NSWRL Head of Football Barrie-Jon Mather said.
“It is a fun and safe way for children to try Rugby League and will ease any concerns parents may have about weight and age.
“It will be a proper competition and we will push it out as wide as we can concurrently with the junior league. All the junior leagues have been supportive.
“Rugby League has always been an inclusive sport and we are confident this will open the game up to new participants and offer another avenue to existing players.”
The NSWRL will run an exhibition event on December 9 at Norford Park, Sefton to promote Blues Tag for under-15 girls representing the 10 Junior Rugby League districts across Sydney.
Blues Tag is as close to Rugby League as possible without tackling.
Blues Tag is played on a full field with 11 players and allows them to kick the ball. Summer tag competitions are played on a modified field with less players and different rules.
The latest initiative from the NSWRL continues a boom period for the game which has seen an explosion in the number of female participants and a modest increase for male players when all age groups are taken into account.