By Casey O'Connor
The start of the Junior Rugby League season is just around the corner. News of the new tackling restrictions in Junior League has many involved in rugby league concerned for the future direction of the game and the impact the rule might have on junior numbers.
A number of clubs last year noticed a drop off in interest after the Tackle Safe Programme was introduced to Under 6’s. As it is set to be extended to Under 7’s there is genuine concern among many Junior Club officials that it will be to the detriment of the game.
While everyone has child safety front of mind there are steps that can be taken to ensure maximum safety to littlies without diluting the fact that rugby league is, and always will be a contact sport. Otherwise everyone would be playing League Tag or Oz Tag.
Teaching children at a young age the correct tackling techniques, I believe is an integral part of learning the game. At a time when league numbers are on the wane it will be interesting to see what effect if any this move has. Would love to hear your thoughts.