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Queensland Rugby League is pleased to report significant participation growth across all demographics, with player registrations up by nearly five per cent.

Across community rugby league and statewide competitions clubs, a total of 64,566 (+4.75 per cent) players signed on to play the game in 2022.

Driving the increase is QRL’s capacity to deliver on national participation strategies, as well as rugby league’s appeal to new families now settling in growing local government areas including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay.

QRL community rugby league general manager Glenn Ottaway also attributed the success to the work of dedicated volunteers, leagues and regions throughout the state.

“The game is growing across all demographics – male, female, senior and junior,” Ottaway said.

“In a period where there is still some uncertainty and challenges off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is great to see the game thriving in local communities.

“Rugby league is proving to be an attractive proposition to people new to Queensland, and our ability to deliver on national strategies like the Player Development Framework is also a key factor.”

Ottaway said the Gold Coast (12 per cent), Sunshine Coast (7.5 per cent) and Moreton Bay (6.5 per cent) had all recorded strong participation growth.

“In the areas where we’ve got the largest growth in council areas, we’re getting significant growth in participation as well,” Ottaway said.

He said the breakdown of playing participants across Queensland also showed both male and female participation had increased.

This year, 55,121 male players registered to play the game – the highest recorded number since 2018.

Female rugby league continues to flourish with 9455 players in 2022, an increase of 20 per cent.

Ottaway said the adoption of key initiatives within the Player Development Framework had supported participation growth.

These initiatives include:

Development competitions (Ages six to 12)
Playing participation numbers are 29,221, representing 5.24 per cent growth. This number also represents the highest playing participation for this demographic in the past five years.

Tag Rugby League (Ages four to seven)
Playing participation numbers are 7215, representing 5.17 per cent growth and supported by the Tackle Ready program led across the state by the NRL Game Development teams.

18-month registration window
The total number of players in Queensland participating via the 18-month registration window is 1473. These numbers continue to grow year-on-year.

Current RISE nominations for 2022 are 2,830. The program has also engaged and educated 243 coaches, 30 wellbeing coaches, 29 strength and conditioning coaches and 20 program managers.

One challenge identified by the QRL is the need to attract and retain more match officials following a 4.5 per cent decline in overall numbers.

“While it is concerning to see a drop in referees this year, the QRL Board has taken steps to address the issue by recently approving a recruitment and retention plan for match officials,” Ottaway said.

Key numbers
Overall players

64,566 (+4.75 per cent)

Male players
55,121 (+2.43 per cent)

Female players
9445 (+20.72 per cent)

Junior players
49,746 (+5.82 per cent)

Senior players
14,820 (+1.31 per cent)

Statewide competitions
1208 (+12.58 per cent)

All data presented is based on the national reporting system as at June 27, 2022.