Mid West to become junior rugby development zone with playing pathways to Perth

Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
Reef Sharks training at Rugby Park.
Camera IconReef Sharks training at Rugby Park. Credit: Supplied

The Mid West is on its way to becoming a junior rugby union powerhouse, with a strong junior development program aiming to build on the hard-tackling work by the colourful Tiger Sharks senior crew.

Rugby organiser Tom Gorman said the region would formally become a development zone for union in 2022 and Rugby WA would run local development weeks in May and October.

“We cater for kids from six years upwards,” Gorman said.

“They do not have to know the sport at all; we teach the sport for all levels.

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“Junior rugby has a position for every child of every body type.”

He said former internationals from the Classic Wallabies group planned to visit Geraldton in October to support the local game, while junior rugby would run at Rugby Park in Spalding on Saturdays from March to August.

There are now five high schools in Geraldton where contact rugby sevens is being offered, an extension of rugby programs that started in Perth in 2021 with investment from mining executive Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation, and pathways are available for juniors who want to play in Perth.

The rugby scene has suffered several setbacks recently while efforts to increase participation are ongoing.

A test match between the Western Force and Queensland Reds was cancelled at the last minute in February due to border restrictions.

The rugby 10s carnival scheduled to be hosted by the Tiger Sharks this weekend has also been cancelled due to restrictions on spectators at outdoor events, according to team official Eric Ofa.

However, Ofa said the Tiger Sharks planned to have some regional and social fixtures throughout the year, including the country carnival.

The side won the 2021 carnival in Bunbury.

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