Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Youth contracts ‘linked’ to rugby league’s development

Creighton leaps above his opposite number to take a spectacular catch. (Photo credit: Christine Ogden)

Creighton leaps above his opposite number to take a spectacular catch. (Photo credit: Christine Ogden)

The Gold Coast Titans have faith that providing contracts to junior rugby league players through the National Youth Competition (NYC) will help develop players into future stars.

Historically, contracts such as these have a high rate of withdrawal; a figure which rugby league executives argue is justified by the positive effect on junior development.

Renee Cohen, general manager of junior development for the Titans, argues that developing players from an early age is crucial for the game’s continued success.

“Without the availability of youth contracts, it (rugby league) would not be played to the high standard it is today,” she said.

Executive officer of Junior Brisbane Rugby League, Greg Koehler, agrees that these contracts are linked to junior development, and therefore to the progression of rugby league at both a national and local level.

“From a local point of view, some players would never have been recognised without the help of a contract,” he said.

“And others, who didn’t end up making the big-time, were still greatly developed as a player.”

Alex Tallon, an aspiring rugby league player who had his contract withdrawn after suffering a severe injury late last year, believes that although contracts can be helpful, they can also create false hope for players who realistically don’t have much chance to make it to the premier competition.

“I think that sometimes clubs are too eager to hand out contracts to anyone who can score a try rather than waiting to see if they have what it takes to play at the highest level,” he said.

Brisbane’s Lachlan Creighton has recently been signed to the Titans NYC team and he believes that amidst all the controversy, youth contracts do serve rugby league justice in junior development.

“Without the use of contracts I would never have had this opportunity,” he said.

”But I am most grateful for what the Titans have given me, I have improved dramatically as a player since obtaining the contract and without it I would still be playing for my local Brisbane club.”

The Titans say they have no intention of ceasing the use of youth contracts.

For information on teams, stats and the history of NYC visit the NYC homepage or for more information regarding the Gold Coast Titans youth contracts you can contact them directly through their contact us section of their website.