Rugby season looking up following clubs forum
PASSIONATE supporters of local rugby league clubs across the south west corner gathered in Charleville last month, taking part in a forum to shape the future of their game.
The Queensland Rugby League-hosted event brought the group of 32 volunteers together to share their feedback on current and future challenges with staff from the QRL and NRL.
In total, 32 delegates from football clubs in Blackall, Augathella, Charleville, St George, Wandoan, the Western Downs and the Central West were in attendance, and exchanged knowledge from their own experiences to help each other.
QRL regional general manager Glen Ottaway was spearheading discussions at the forum, and said the delegates' passion for rugby league shone through immensely.
"What we found was that most clubs are really-well supported, both culturally and financially, which typifies the love for the game in the West,” Ottaway said.
"In saying that, a lot of clubs are struggling to recruit and retain new players and volunteers, making it hard for clubs on game days.
"In 2019, we hope to provide further education and development to clubs in the west, ensuring the game continues to prosper on and off the field.”
Despite some challenges for clubs, a positive sign in recent seasons has been a huge jump in junior participation.
Over the past three years, the number of kids playing outback footy has risen by 38% with most of that growth centred in the St George, Charleville and Roma areas.
A major contributor to junior participation has been the Adrian Vowles Cup, which is anticipating a further growth of 25%.