Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow the game in Greater Manchester. There will be two RLWC2021 finals taking place in Trafford, a further four Greater Manchester borough’s hosting RLWC2021 activity and the RLWC2021 Festivals of World Cups also taking place within the Greater Manchester region.
A world class sporting event, which the RLWC2021 will undoubtedly be, should provide the catalyst to attract new players, teams and clubs to experience rugby league in an environment focussed on developing players rather than just winning. That is the ambition of the newly formed Greater Manchester Rugby League Group (GMRL), a group consisting of key stakeholders from within the game. The remit is to increase the number of new players with a focus on areas within Greater Manchester where there is little rugby league activity.
GMRL will offer an entry level, relatively short playing season (May-Aug) designed to attract new players and clubs who want to give rugby league a go but cannot commit to a full playing season. There will be a mixture of playing opportunities from skill-based development days and centrally delivered festivals to more traditional style fixtures.
Mark Lovering said: “Away from the Greater Manchester areas we traditionally associate with rugby league such as Wigan, Oldham, Salford and Rochdale we also have rugby league activity in boroughs such as Bolton, Bury, Manchester and Trafford.
"We will be looking to increase activity in those areas as well as support new activity in Tameside and Stockport. We have already seen the emergence of Tameside Knights and are working in Stockport, with Salford Red Devils, with a view to establishing a new community club.
"The intention is to have new clubs and players from every borough in Greater Manchester take part in the new activity with the long-term aim being to build teams and clubs capable of playing a longer playing season. This playing offer will complement existing leagues who do a great job in more established areas.”
As with other RFL Player Development Leagues, such as the North East Junior League supported by Newcastle Thunder, and the City of Hull and District Rugby League backed by Hull FC and Hull KR, as key stakeholders the professional clubs within Greater Manchester are fully supportive of and engaged with the new initiative.
“We are very fortunate to have the active support of the professional clubs in the region to drive this opportunity forward” adds Lovering.
“Through their foundations the professional clubs, led by Super League club Salford Red Devils, are fully involved in developing the playing offer and shaping the calendar to ensure all the junior players who get involved have a great rugby league experience.”
Whilst we have the support of Salford Red Devils, Swinton Lions, Rochdale Hornets, Warrington Wolves and the Manchester Rangers Foundation, who continue to do great work around Manchester, we are still looking for volunteers to get involved.
If you would like to get involved or are considering setting up a rugby league club in Greater Manchester please contact email@example.com for further information and support. The 2019 season will see clubs focus on U7’s, U8’s and U9’s plus U12’s to U14’s
An open forum is scheduled for 10am on Saturday 15 February at the AJ Bell Stadium, the home of Salford Red Devils. Anyone with an interest in developing rugby league in the area is invited to attend and can confirm attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.