Queensland rugby launches Rookies2Reds juniors program

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Queensland Rugby has today officially unveiled its new junior Rugby program, Rookies2Reds, which is designed to introduce primary school-aged boys and girls and their families to the fun of Rugby, in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Rookies2Reds is open to children between the ages of 5 to 10 and will be run by professional coaches who will teach Rugby skills through a variety of ability-tailored exercises, while maintaining an overall focus on promoting fun and encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.

Junior fans had the opportunity to emulate their favourite Reds stars and sample the new Rookies2Reds program at the recent Reds Fan Day which attracted around 6,000 people to Ballymore last Saturday.

Launching into the same space as AFL’s Auskick program, In2Cricket and Netball’s Net Set Go – Rookies2Reds is being rolled out to Queensland primary schools and will connect participants and their families with their local junior Rugby club, and Rookies2Reds zone.

Along with five weekly coaching sessions staged after school in a designated Rookies2Reds zone, participants will also receive a special Rookies2Reds pack which includes a variety of gear including a backpack, water bottle, ball, cap, slap band and height comparison poster. (See attached)

Registrations are now open at www.Rookies2Reds.com.au and the five-week program costs $80.

Rookies2Reds kids will also be presented with special membership benefits which will give aspiring youngsters the opportunity to see their Reds idols on the park.

General Manager of Game Development David Hanham said Queensland Rugby is investing into junior programming like Rookies2Reds as part of its overall strategy to grow participation.

“Queensland Rugby is investing into Rookies2Reds and other programming this year to engage and promote the Code beyond our current reach,” Mr Hanham said.

“The desired outcome is to ensure we continue the participation growth we have been experiencing year on year which will grow the One Rugby Community and in turn secure the Code for the future generations.

“Professional sport is a very competitive marketplace in Queensland and research shows if you can capture a person’s allegiance from an early age, they are far more likely to become lifelong supporters.”

Rookies2Reds ambassador James Horwill is encouraging boys, girls and parents to get involved.

“While you’re passing, kicking, and running through some fun activities with your mates, you’ll get the chance to make some new friends and you’ll get some great Rookies2Reds gear to keep,” Horwill said.

“Getting outdoors and having fun with your mates are two of the things the Reds enjoy most about playing a team sport.

“After all, teamwork and being a good sport is what Rugby is all about!

“Tell Mum and Dad they can come along to Rookies2Reds to help out as well, they can volunteer or even just come along to watch you train and play from the sidelines.

“We look forward to seeing you on the field.”

Over 80 Rookies2Reds zones have been established across the state and a number of five-week after-school courses will operate throughout the year.

Rookies2Reds is targeting 5,000 participants in its inaugural year.

The success of the St.George Queensland Reds in their Super Rugby title winning year has not only seen a significant rise in membership numbers but also a flow-on effect in the junior age-groups at the grass-roots level.

The Brisbane Junior Rugby Union (BJRU) is reporting some of its smaller clubs are experiencing growth in their junior ranks up as high as 50 per cent on last year.

In the starting age of U6 and U7 growth across the region is up approximately 20 per cent.

With four days to go until the start of the season, the Reds have over 27,000 members on board for 2012 and need a further 2,846 members to reach their target of 30,000.

This number is expected to break the 35,000 mark during the season.

For more information on Rookies2Reds visit: www.Rookies2Reds.com.au.