The Australian Rugby League says that an Australian Sports Commission survey does not accurately reflect the registrations and participation numbers which show that rugby league is continuing to grow by record levels in New South Wales.
The Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS) is a joint initiative of the Australian Sports Commission and the state and territory government agencies responsible for sport and recreation and is based on activities that were participated in by persons aged 15 years and over for exercise, recreation or sport during the 12 months prior to interview.
The survey shows that rugby league has continued its strong position in New South Wales and Queensland with rugby league numbers double that of both AFL and rugby union.
“Make no mistake, rugby league, both in terms of registrations and in terms of more concentrated introductory programs, is experiencing unprecedented growth,” Australian Rugby League Development General Manager, Mr Bill Palmer said.
“I also find it hard to believe that the AFL has 45,700 players in New South Wales given the limited number of grass-roots clubs in the greater Sydney region.
“The findings of this report are truly baffling.
“It is disappointing other sports like AFL use Auskick numbers as participation numbers because I think it confuses the whole picture for many people.
“The Australian Rugby League challenges sports to provide full season competition numbers without clinic based participations.
“These clinic based participations are very important to Rugby League and this year we have welcomed 42,000 children into the Rugby League world through the Harvey Norman Backyard League Program in just three months.
“Currently those 42,000 are separate from our participation numbers but if we included Backyard League as well as our other programs like Kids to Kangaroos and Joeys League our numbers would be just shy of a million nationwide.
“The report states that for any group, total participation rate is the number of persons who participated in the activity at least once in the last 12 months, expressed as a percentage of the population in the same group, so I don’t think it is an accurate reflection of the state’s sporting landscape.”
New South Wales (NSWRL and CRL) in 2009 – 18 and under
– Registered club players: 77,587
– Players in inter school competitions supported by Rugby League: 152,696
– Children involved in multiple session Rugby League programs: 193,745
– Children involved in inter schools gala day competitions: 58,021
– Number of school clinics: 12,831
– Schools engaged in RL programs: 3,439
NSW (NSWRL and CRL) in 2009 – 18 and over
– Registered club players 19,194