Junior League grows on up
GYMPIE Junior Rugby League is enjoying record numbers of players joining the competition this year.
The club has enlisted 325 keen league players, aged from five to under 16.
One hundred and nine new players have joined this year and are getting into their very first league games this season.
Junior Rugby League development officer Darren Burns said the club always received good numbers, but this year was the best.
"We usually get around 70 to 80 new players each season, but to have over 100 is quite a surprise," he said.
The high numbers can be attributed to the development program undertaken by the club, which not only teaches player skills, but encourages them if they have an interest in playing at higher levels.
Development is aided by trial games against Brisbane teams, which is a means of providing the players with experience and variety in competitions.
Usually, however, the teams up to the U12s play locally, which Burns said aids the appeal of the competition.
"Parents can get the draw and make plans.
"They know that the game's every Sunday and that they don't have to travel," he said.
Older players travel for games in the Sunshine Coast competition, but the benefit of learning early in Gympie is that they are then ready for a higher level of competition.
Much of the preparation to help get the players into form for local and away games comes from the high-level coaching which is provided at the club.
All teams have a skilled coach and train twice-a-week.
Coaches are trained to a level one coaching level and the club employs school-based trainees, who currently coach the massive eight U8 teams in the comp.
Burns said the large player numbers can be quite demanding, but the club is well-equipped to deal with it. He said game day and training run well.
The club also holds out-of-season development squads to provide keen players with extra training.
This extra experience, along with the Brisbane trial games, means players can become highly involved and skilled in the sport.
"We don't just train twice a week and turn up to games," Burns said.
He said the club, with its encouraging and engaging philosophy, is growing in its success and is a credit to those who put the effort into it.
"A lot of hard work has gone into getting us to where we are now and providing a high standard," Burns said.