AUSTRALIAN Rugby League Commission has appointed Garry Steven
son to a new position of regional game development manager for the Northern NSW area.
He will remain based on the Coffs Coast but is responsible for a considerably large territory.
This now brings all development activities of the game together under one unified organisation.
"It is an extremely exciting time for everyone in rugby league," Stevenson said.
"From the NRL down to game development, volunteers, administrators, clubs and their players, primary and high schools and all at the grassroots levels.
"The integration ensures the game in NSW Country will prosper with the one body delivering school programs, coach education, NRL One Community projects and activities.
"This is in addition to high performance programs for academies and promotions such as Country versus City and the NRL Trial games."
Stevenson said new, improved structures have been implemented to restore the game to its former premier position.
"We will also be focusing and working closely with the junior and senior rugby league clubs and administrators in the local areas to ensure greater participation in future years," he said.
"All game development officers are really looking forward to the challenges ahead and implementing the new NRL structures.
"We will expand our great game together and pride ourselves on unity and working hard within our communities."
This new approach has set bold targets.
NRL general manager for League Integration and Game Development, Andrew Hill, said the centralised development program would ensure that 1.6 million children each year take part in rugby league activities by 2017.
"The move to a national development model and a single development brand is an essential step and vitally important to our future," he said.
"This is a very exciting time for all involved as we are able to move the wealth of knowledge and experience of our 400 development staff into one unit which will also create a stronger presence across all areas of the game."
Under the new structure, managers will also take programs to the non-traditional league states and territories.
In 2012, rugby league-based programs have engaged 1,409,946 children.
A total of 598,191 children have played in a rugby league game across clubs and schools with 430,638 students playing in regular school competitions and formal gala days.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.