Continuing to focus on the expansion of Rugby League at the grass roots level, the AMNRL has recently announced the establishment of a High Performance Academy and Youth Development program.
As the AMNRL continues to add key personnel to their organization, the focus on youth development will ensure opportunities to play Rugby League are available for all age groups.
Heading up the Youth Development Program and High Performance Academy are Ben Kelly and Damien O’Malveney. Their appointments continue the trend of Australians doing their part to bring the game to the American people.
An emphasis on youth development will provide youngsters with the basic knowledge and skills of Rugby League before they reach the collegiate level. This will address the issue of players being introduced to the sport at a later age, a trend identified in collegiate Rugby.
In conjunction with the establishment of the Academy, the AMNRL is looking to establish State Development Officers across the country.
This new initiative, developed by Collegiate Development Manager Damian Flint, will add to the structure that currently exists and will play a vital role in the education and development of collegiate and community Rugby League programs.
The State Development Officers will assist in connecting youth programs to their collegiate counterpart.
As Flint told WeAreRugby – “Creating a leadership model that streamlines communication is paramount to the success of the collegiate initiative. It will provide us with an avenue for consistent reporting and dispersing of information to take place.”
Through the State Development Officers, Flint is looking to disseminate quality, and consistent, coaching and development resources. “I’ll look to Lee (National Coaching Director Lee Addison) to provide us with that information based on his involvement with NSWRL.”
Apart from promoting the sport of Rugby League to potential players, the State Development Officers will also be asked to identify collegiate and community initiatives clubs can become involved in.
According to Flint, creating a culture of civic and community engagement is a critical foundation from which the program will be built.
“We have an opportunity to create a new culture and change the typical perception of Rugby that exists on college campuses across America,” continued Flint. “One of the benefits Rugby League has of being a slower developing sport than Rugby Union is that we can learn from some of the challenges the latter has had.”
An announcement containing the position description is expected in early January.