FULL STEAM AHEAD: Action from the juniors last year, once again player numbers are strong ahead of the season.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: Action from the juniors last year, once again player numbers are strong ahead of the season. Mike Richards GLA180316JRUG

Department of youth as league starts tonight

RUGBY LEAGUE: It all starts tonight and tomorrow morning and the future at junior level looks bright.

Literally hundreds of juniors will be kicking off tonight and tomorrow morning when round one of the Gladstone and District Junior Rugby League starts.

Gladstone and District Junior Rugby League chairman Richard Duff said the numbers were well on the way to exceeding those from the middle of last year.

"We are currently just short on 1100 who have signed and we had 1125 juniors at June 30 last year,” Duff said.

"We are more than happy that the numbers will get higher.”

The Nines competition recently in Rockhampton was a positive factor in encouraging juniors to join league clubs in Gladstone, Calliope and Tannum Sands.

Duff said there was another contributing factor to the increase of junior players.

"There have been rule modifications where there will be a lot more opportunities for kids to get game time,” Duff said.

There will be less players on the field from the under-6 to U9 levels.

The junior numbers are in contrast to the senior level as some men's teams have struggled in recent years.

"We had a lot of guys who have left town for work, but I'm over the moon with all the junior registrations,” Duff said.

The decision to establish an U18 competition was to make it easier for from U17s to transition to the U20s level.

"It was a numbers game at the end of the day and we've had to think ahead for the U20s and the U18s will help players be ready for U20s level,” Duff said.

"Some of the U18s will play U20s this year and some will play both.”

Duff said positions for the U13, 14 and 16 boy's representative teams would be up for grabs in the next two weeks as well.

JUNIOR LEAGUE

Today: U15, U16, U18 games on at 5.30, 6.40 and 7.50pm at Briffney Creek Fields 1 and 2 and Calliope

Tomorrow: U6-U16 - 1st games from 8am. Final games at 1pm (Briffney 1) and 2.05pm (Calliope)



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