WHITEHEAD PLUMBING & GAS JUNIOR RUGBY LEAGUE SEASON KICKS OFF SATURDAY
The autumn dew on rugby league fields around Ōtautahi Christchurch is about to be disturbed from this Saturday morning as hundreds of kids fizzing for the 2023 Whitehead Plumbing & Gas Junior Rugby League season finally get to pull the footy boots on again.
A fortunate few juniors had the opportunity to play on Orangetheory Stadium in February as part of the Melbourne Storm-One New Zealand Warriors NRL trial match festivities, while clubs have also played pre-season matches in recent weeks.
But the Whitehead Plumbing & Gas Junior Rugby League competitions proper get underway on Saturday as the next generation of rugby league players gets ready to rip in, with 12 clubs represented.
The nursery (14 teams), 6 years (11 teams), 7 years (17 teams), 8 years (14 teams), 9 years (12 teams) and 10 years (10 teams) grades will play at Canterbury Park, Bradford Park and Coronation Park.
Meanwhile, in an exciting development for Whitehead Plumbing & Gas Junior Rugby League season 2023, the 11 years (nine teams), 12 years (six teams) and 13 years (six teams) grades will play their matches at Ngā Puna Wai. Last year, only the 12s played at the home of Canterbury Rugby League.
“It is awesome for these grades to experience the quality surfaces at Ngā Puna Wai,” CRL Competition & Operations Manager Jordan Chand says.
“Christchurch City Council have provided the goalposts for our juniors, so on behalf of Canterbury Rugby League we want to thank them for that.”
Midweek night rugby league returns at Ngā Puna Wai for the older junior grades: 16s boys (seven teams) and 18s boys (four teams) play on Monday nights from May 1, and 14s boys (six teams) play on Wednesday nights from May 3.
The girls competitions kick off a week later, with the 14s (four teams) and 16s (three teams) grades playing on Monday nights from May 8. Details for the 18s girls competition will be confirmed followed Canterbury Rugby League’s development day on Sunday, April 30 (10am-2pm at Wainoni Park).
The number of girls players registering to play in Canterbury in 2023 already reflects the growth of rugby league in that department in New Zealand and Australia, with 156 girls from nursery grade through to 13s and 105 girls for the 14s grade and older signing up so far.
“A key goal of the Canterbury Rugby League 2023-26 Strategic Plan is that our community are recipients of safe and positive experiences,” CRL CEO Malcolm Humm says.
“With the delivery of our recent junior coaches development day and having access to such quality facilities as Canterbury Park and Ngā Puna Wai, we believe we are doing the right things to achieve this goal for our junior players.”
CRL also wishes to sincerely thank Whitehead Plumbing & Gas – their support of junior rugby league is integral to being able to deliver the best experience possible of our great game for Canterbury’s youngest participants.