Round one is upon us and there are some notable changes to the junior draw in 2011. The changes that have been put in place are to ensure the long term growth of Rugby League in Western Australia. As many will be aware the WA Rugby League for some years, have operated the competition on a two venue format, this was successful in the early days due to lack of teams and numbers across clubs. This method also came with its failings as the competition grew, the week to week draw became difficult to accommodate the amount of games played at each venue and many volunteers expressed their dismay at the extra long junior days. This system of creating the junior draw also lead to inconsistent fixturing of teams which is obviously not ideal for any sporting competition. With the growth of the competition it is become virtually impossible to run four clubs at each venue especially due to five junior clubs not having suitable lighting to play later games.

It was advised in November last year that all clubs would play in a home and away draw for 2011. This in turn would have its effects on some clubs as there would no longer be the allowance of multiple sides in the competition grades of 11’s to 16’s, this is due to three way games being not suitable for these age groups competing for a premiership. On the up side there is now a draw in place so that parents and clubs can plan their year, as a full draw will be distributed at the start of the season instead of week to week like previously. Extra teams will still also be allowed in the participation grades of 6’s to 10’s where three way games are acceptable. A couple of solutions were offered to clubs in the hope of them continuing with more than one team per grade in the competition age groups under the new structure, these included:

1-    Forming a second club that fields a set amount of junior sides enabling the club to receive double the amount of home games.
2-   Taking the place of another clubs time slot who cannot field the same age group.

From this Joondalup Giants have formed a sister club called the ‘Brighton Giants’ which will field separate teams in 2011, we wish them every success in this new venture. It is also with pleasure we welcome the South West Warriors into our junior competition in 2011, after just one year in the senior competition they have experienced fantastic growth and will field six junior sides.

Good luck to all Junior Rugby League Clubs in 2011.