The NRL today welcomed a $30,000 commitment from the Victorian Government towards a feasibility study into a Victorian State Rugby League Centre.
Holden Kangaroos and Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith today joined Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Damian Drum MLC, and General Manager of the Victorian Rugby League (VRL), Brent Silva, to make the announcement at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.
Smith, in Melbourne ahead of Sunday’s Four Nations match against England at AAMI Park, said that investment in facilities to help produce local talent was imperative.
“We want Victorian boys and girls to be given the same opportunities as everyone else in the country to fulfil their dreams and play for the Storm, Jillaroos or Kangaroos,” Mr Smith said.
“Investment in facilities like a Victorian State Rugby League Centre will help young aspiring players reach their full potential.
“Today’s announcement that the Victorian Government, NRL and VRL are working together on a feasibility study is an important first step in making a state centre a reality.
“Ultimately I hope to see a young Victorian come through a local elite pathways program and play for their country in front of a cheering crowd at AAMI Park or the MCG one day.”
Silva said the VRL, NRL and Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) were working together to complete a feasibility study as soon as possible.
“We want to deliver a facility that can meet the high performance needs of the game’s representative players, establish comprehensive player pathways, provide a base for education programs for coaches, referees, and administrators and deliver for the broader community,” Mr Silva said.
“Through our work with SRV we have identified 17 potential sites for a centre and will have narrowed that down to a preferred site in the coming weeks.
“A state centre will allow us to host national championships and showcase our local talent, something that Victoria does not currently have the facilities to do.
“Importantly we are also working with Touch Football Australia to ensure the proposed facility would be fully utilised.
“The VRL is committed to working with the Victorian Government to encourage people to participate in rugby league and grow the game at both the grass roots and elite level.”
NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said the investment by the Victorian Government was another significant step forward for rugby league in the state.
“We have an important Four Nations match between Australia and England taking place in Melbourne on Sunday, State of Origin returning to the MCG next year, and the Melbourne Storm continuing to be a strong and successful club,” Mr Greenberg said. “But the Victorian Government’s commitment will ensure that the long-term future of rugby league in the state is on a solid footing.
“Ultimately, it would be wonderful to see many more rugby league players being identified and developed in Victoria.”