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QRL’s Positive Environment Program in full swing

The Queensland Rugby League’s Positive Environment Program is now in full effect at community clubs throughout the state, in a bid to empower volunteers and create a safe, positive environment for all.

The program, which launched earlier this year, has been 18 months in the making, with a focus on fostering respect and on promoting awareness of behavioural issues that were creeping into the game.

Overseen by the QRL’s South East region manager, Adam Vanzanten, with the help of Brisbane league and club coordinator, David Knight, the PEP provides a framework for volunteers and clubs to use when they need to address issues at rugby league matches at the community level.

Vanzanten said the program was introduced in March, but now an awareness campaign has begun to help more people in the wider rugby league community understand the importance of positive behaviours.

“The intent behind this was to try to work with our community clubs to empower volunteers to deliver a prevention program,” Vanzanten said.

“We needed a framework for volunteers to work from.

“We had noticed a trend of antisocial behaviours in and around rugby league matches. It wasn’t anything new, but we wanted to work in a way that was new. The only way we’re going to tackle it is for everyone to play their part.

“Our volunteers didn’t have the resources to have those conversations with people that weren’t behaving the way they should. They’re the people out there facing it when it happens, they need the tools to deal with it.”

Vanzanten said there’s still a lot to do with the program and many ways in which it can be adapted, expanded upon and utilised, including in conjunction with the Play Well Triple P program, which is currently being trialled across the South East.

Some of the poor behaviour that PEP aims to curb includes abuse or intimidation of referees, physical violence on and off the field, and interchange players or spectators entering the field of play during an incident.

There are recommended penalties for all degrees of offences, including the loss of competition points.


Our children are watching us and learning how they should act from the way we behave. Remember its Positive or it's Pointless. Find out more:

Posted by SEQ - South East Queensland Rugby League on Friday, August 5, 2022

The QRL has invested heavily in this program and CEO Rohan Sawyer said there was no room for anti-social behaviour in rugby league.

“Our game is an inclusive game that is built on respect,” Sawyer said.

“Poor behaviour isn’t inclusive and it alienates people. Poor behaviour is disrespectful. A lot of people are volunteers, they give up their own time to ensure our game thrives.

“The Positive Environment Program is important because it actually supports the health of our game. Without volunteers – of which we have circa 20,000 amazing volunteers – the game wouldn’t exist at a community level.

“No one should be put in a position where they are uncomfortable or do not want to participate. We need to make sure the behaviours of everyone are at the best level possible. We want it to be fun, fair, and that everyone is excited to play rugby league.”

Sawyer said the PEP could also have a flow-on effect, not only empowering volunteers and creating safer and more positive environments in rugby league, but across the state of Queensland as a whole.

“We’re the biggest sport in the state and by having positive behaviour programs or empowering people to work in a positive way, it’s not just good for our sport but all sports,” Sawyer said.

“There’s a lot of crossover between sport … sport is the fabric of communities across Queensland. We need to create a legacy and we can only do that positively.”

For more information on the QRL’s Positive Environment Program, click here.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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