Statement : Player Development Framework

NRL WA would like to advise the following changes to Junior Rugby League in 2020 and 2021.

We appreciate this information may have changed over the last 12 months, however, we can confirm the below approach will be applied to all NRL WA competitions. The changes are in place to enhance the experience had by all Junior Rugby League participants, and volunteers.

This structure is not intended to discourage healthy competition on the field at any age. Rather, it is a mechanism for removing the ‘win at all costs’ attitude that is widely reported, across all sport, as detrimental to player development and retention.

Development competitions will be run for participants in Under 6 to Under 12 under a structure that allows coaches to focus entirely on the technical, tactical, physical and social development of players.


In relation to TAG Rugby League participation, NRL WA would like to provide context to some misguided commentary that suggests young players will not learn to tackle.

NRL WA is in fact placing an even greater emphasis on the tackle component of the game through a six-session program designed to ensure all children receive a quality introduction to this key aspect of rugby league and develop both their confidence and competence in all tackle situations.

The program has been specifically designed to ready children for tackle and increase the overall rugby league experience for participants by equipping players with the skills and confidence to tackle properly, make contact and fall safely.

Survey results from last year’s Player Development Framework testing phase in QLD and Victoria show that 85 per cent of parents reported their child had improved confidence after completing the program. Research supports that the biggest barrier to ‘early’ entry in to rugby league is tackling and contact.

Tag Rugby League allows new participants to learn basic game concepts while removing the above barrier.

The Player Development Framework will be phased in by NRL WA over the next 2 seasons. The approach will be as follows:


  • Under 6 Tag Rugby League
  • Under 7 Tackle Rugby League & Tackle Ready Program
    **The Tackle Ready Program consists of six-sessions which builds the competence, confidence, character and connection of players performing the skill of tackling.
  • Under 8 – 11 Development Competitions


  • Under 6 Tag Rugby League
  • Under 7 Tag Rugby League & Tackle Ready Program
    **The Tackle Ready Program will be delivered through the 2021 season, with the Under 7 Teams playing Tag Rugby League fixtures on the weekend. With the delivery of the Tackle Ready Program, this will progress the players into Tackle Rugby League the following season.
  • Under 8 – 12 Development Competitions


About the Player Development Framework

The Framework recommends seven key initiatives that have been developed following an extensive period of research.

It is designed to promote lifelong engagement with Rugby League – consistent with the overall purpose of NRL WA.

The Framework aligns delivery of the game with the specific needs of participants relative to their age, skill level and long term aspiration and development.

All approved initiatives of the Framework will be implemented by NRL WA, and will be supported by employed staff and trained deliverers.


To find out more information about the Player Development Framework, please head to

*Please note – Weight Related Competitions within the Player Development Framework will not be undertaken by NRL WA at this time.


Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with the implementation of these changes.

NRL WA General Manager Mr. John Sackson.