Rugby league in Victoria is heading for a record season with more players and more teams than ever before in 2023.
The opening round of the new Storm Premiership for senior footballers was held at the weekend and more than 200 junior teams will kick off the Storm Junior League season on Saturday, April 29.
The 2023 Storm Junior League was officially launched at AAMI Park today when representatives of 16 clubs were joined by Storm winger Dean Ieremia who first started playing rugby league with the Sunbury Tigers.
NRL Victoria General Manager Brent Silva said the increase in both junior and senior numbers this year was great news for the on-going health and development of rugby league in Victoria.
“We know we have a great game to play and enjoy for under-sixes through to adults,” he said.
It’s really pleasing and encouraging to see more and more people are getting out to their local club and signing on as a rugby league player.Brent Silva NRL Victoria General Manager
“This year, we will have more than 250 teams in our metropolitan competitions, playing in the Storm Premiership and Storm Junior League.
“We are growing state-wide with 30 clubs across Victoria, including a new club in the Geelong Sharks who have junior and senior teams in our metro competitions this year.
“We’re on track for record participation numbers, beating our previous best season in 2019 when we had more than 4400 registered rugby league players.
“This is all occurring thanks to the on-going work from our dedicated club volunteers and officials, the NRL, NRL Victoria and our home state NRL club, the Melbourne Storm, who have been great supporters of growing the local game.”
The first taste of rugby league for juniors comes in the Storm Junior League which covers under-six to under-18 age groups for both boys and girls. A non-contact “tag” version of the game is played by the under-sixes and sevens before they graduate to a modified tackle game played under a “Safe Play Code”.
This year’s Storm Premiership includes Sunbury Tigers stepping up to men’s first grade, two new teams in the men’s second grade competition and five new teams in men’s third grade.
Five clubs, including newcomers Casey Warriors and Sunshine Cowboys, will field teams in the women’s first grade competition.
Storm CEO Justin Rodski said the Storm Junior League and Storm Premiership were part of a clear pathway that now existed for young rugby league players in Victoria.
“We are very proud with the connections we have formed with NRL Victoria from the Storm Junior League through to the Storm Premiership and, for the elite juniors looking to have a career in the game in the NRL, our new Storm Academy,” he said.
The game is in good health in Victoria and all of the stakeholders are focussed on making rugby league an even more popular choice for both youngsters and adults.Justin Rodski CEO, Melbourne Storm
It’s not too late to sign up for the 2023 season! Head to www.playrugbyleague.com/register to join now!
All registered Storm Junior League participants can redeem a free Storm two-game digital membership. Parents/guardians and siblings of registered participants can purchase a discounted two-game digital for adults at $25 or a junior at $15.