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Maroons stars Michael Morgan, Johnathan Thurston, Justin O’Neill, Greg Inglis and Sam Thaiday have thrown their support behind the game’s “Let Kids Be Kids” initiative.

Watch the video now to hear what some of the biggest stars in rugby league have to say about junior sport!

Parents all want their children to shine on the sports field, yet there’s nothing that will dull a child’s sparkle more than having parents and spectators pressure them from the sidelines.

Sadly though, many kids react negatively to the pressure and stop playing their favourite sports, including rugby league.

As parents, volunteers and spectators, we need to let kids be kids whilst playing the sports that they love, especially the Greatest Game of All.

To encourage this, local leagues across the Queensland Rugby League are supporting a wonderful new initiative started by not-for-profit organisation, Play by the Rules.

The initiative aims to encourage better sideline behaviour in all junior sports by simply asking parents to let kids be kids.

Recent research shows that kids predominately play sport to have fun, to do something they’re good at, to improve their skills, to stay in shape and to get some exercise.

Research has also shown that aggressive behaviour on the sideline is embarrassing junior participants, making them lose confidence and can lead to them quitting junior sport in general.

Some of the positive things we can do as parents, volunteers and spectators is to respect all players, coaches and officials.

This includes supporting and praising the efforts of all players during matches and being enthusiastic and positive about playing the game for fun and enjoyment.

Although most parents and spectators do all the above, sometimes we need reminding why we encourage our children to play sport.

QRL Head of Football Neil Wharton says the excessive pressure from the sidelines contributes to losing junior players from not just rugby league, but all junior sports.

“We are finding that an over emphasis on winning, excessive instruction from the sideline and criticism of match officials and coaches is having a detrimental effect on junior participation rates, not only in our sport but in all junior sports,” Wharton says.

Every junior league across the state will be dedicating a “Let Kids Be Kids” Round on the weekend of May 20 and 21 and Wharton hopes this will encourage better sideline behaviour throughout the season and beyond.

“I am sure all leagues and clubs within the QRL will support this dedicated weekend to ensure that we continue to provide our young players in our game a positive and healthy experience,” he says.

The message being sent is clear … let kids have fun and do what they love.

On the rugby league field, let kids be kids.

·         Clubs seeking more resources on this initiative are encouraged to contact their local QRL Operations Manager.