NSW Blues State of Origin Coach Laurie Daley Backs Plan to Make Junior Registrations Free

NSW coach Laurie Daley said the NRL should consider a year-long trial where registration fees for junior players are scrapped.

It is understood the NSWRL has been considering a plan where junior registrations could be free statewide for around $3 million.

The NSWRL is keen for the NRL to foot the bill as part of the $100 million rescue plan to halt the mass exodus of junior players revealed by The Sunday Telegraph revealed earlier this month.

“We should be looking at ways to boost junior numbers,” Daley said.

North Sydney Brothers under 9s team have fun at their training session at Northridge. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

“Maybe this is something we could do to look after the grassroots — make it free to play rugby league.

“I don’t know the exact costs but maybe just a trial it for a year. To see whether the number would go up. Maybe look at investing a couple of million dollars to help grassroots, bush footy and players in the city.

“Whatever the cost would be, why don’t we try it? The only ways kids are going to fall in love with the game is if they try it as well watch it.

North Sydney treasurer Daniel Dickson said the Brothers club has benefited greatly from not charging registration fees. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

“Let’s just see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t make a difference, at least you have tried something.”

Daley’s local club North Sydney Brothers has abolished registration fees and posted a staggering 200 per cent increase in player numbers.

The club had just 33 registered players last year but that has increased to 100 after the club waived expensive rego fees.

The club had two-and-a-half sides in 2016 but now field six full teams in the under 7s, 9s, 10s, 11s, 13s and 14s.

“Brothers’ numbers have gone up 200 percent. And that is just a small club on the north shore which isn’t based in a rugby league stronghold. Look at what they have achieved,” Daley said.

NSWRL chief executive David Trodden added: “The experience of the Brothers club in North Sydney seems to suggest an obvious and direct relationship between the cost of participation and participation numbers.

“Subject to affordability, if it was possible to extend the funding of junior registrations to other districts, logically you would expect to see the same participation increases.”

NSW coach Laurie Daley would love to see junior registration fees waived statewide. Picture: Getty Images

A sellout fundraiser each year, which will again be held Friday, injects the necessary cash for Brothers to banish rego fees.

Brothers previously charged $120 per kid a season, other clubs around NSW though have fees which top $350.

North Sydney treasurer Daniel Dickson said the Brothers club also gives kids jerseys, shorts and socks along with an end-of-season trophy.

“There is no out-of-pocket expense for families,” Dickson said. “I couldn’t imagine the response to be so great.”

Daisy Miller runs away with the ball during North Sydney Brothers training. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Dickson fully endorsed Daley’s belief the game should eradicate fees for kids.

“Couldn’t agree more, absolutely,” he said. “I think the NRL would do enormously well trialling it in individual areas. I think it would be an amazing thing for rugby league.”

Dickson said insurance costs are only about $10 for the younger junior players with that figure rising to $150 for players over the age of 16.

An NRL spokesman said: “It is certainly a wonderful initiative by North Sydney Brothers and we see many similar scenarios across grassroots rugby league.


“Ultimately, it is up to the respective junior clubs to select their own levels of fees. However, across the game, it’s our belief we are one of the most competitive sports in Australia when it comes to registration fees.

“We will continue to commit significant resources in order to ensure the game prospers at the grassroots level.”


Cost to register a junior in NSW

– Rugby league: $100-$145

– Cricket: $75 for Milo In2 Cricket, $99 for T20 Blast and $160 on average

– Netball: $58-$79

– Rugby union: $100-$220

– Soccer: $200-$320

– Australian rules: $85-$170

This article originally appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au on Fri