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QRL launch new talent program across Queensland

Queensland Rugby League will continue with its innovative approach to the 2021 season after confirmation today the state’s governing body will adopt the RISE Talent Development program.

As part of changes announced to the statewide pathway for players in October, the RISE program will next year be offered by 19 local leagues and associations across Queensland.

In a major coup for the game, 2500 aspirational players between the age of 13 and 15 are expected to participate.

With the QRL committed to the implementation of the NRL Player Development Framework, the adoption of a statewide approach will ensure aspirational players are provided with access to talent development through accredited coaches.

QRL senior pathways and performance manager Brett Jones said a key driver behind the change was the desire to ensure players had fully matured before representative selection decisions were made.

“Years of representative age group data has shown that representative teams have traditionally selected a greater percentage of players born in the first half of the year,” Jones said.

“This trend is not consistent with the general population, nor the NRL playing population, highlighting that selection is often impacted by the physical maturity of players.”

The QRL will now have the opportunity to work with a large base of coaches and players on fundamental skills, fitness and self-awareness before selectors come knocking at under 16 level via the statewide pathways.

“The impacts of embedding technical, physical and emotional capabilities in players during formative years is critical in ensuring players are ready for the competitive demands they will experience in statewide competition as they aspire towards state cup and the NRL,” Jones said.

RISE has been developed by elite coaches Mal Meninga and Neil Henry with input from leading experts in skill acquisition and player development.

The RISE program will consist of a five-session training program and weekend of competitive games at the completion of the training window.

Central to the program is the RISE coach accreditation program. All coaches who are appointed to work with players will attend workshops where they will be mentored by Henry. 

Fresh from Queensland’s recent State of Origin success, Maroons assistant coach Henry was confident the RISE program would play a big role in sustaining Queensland’s on-field success.

“Origin was an amazing series and showed the true spirit of Queensland rugby league,” Henry said.

“Working with the players, it was clear that they all had varying experiences with selection at junior levels.

“Most common was that many said it wasn’t until they matured between 15 and 17 years of age that they started really investing and specialising in rugby league.

“RISE is a chance to ensure that we provide all players who aspire and display the Queensland DNA with access to terrific coaching and support.

“If we help one more player to achieve their dream of playing for the Maroons, that will be fantastic.”

Applications for age group head coaches and team coaches in all regions are now open. 

Further information can be requested via email rise@qrl.com.au.