FREAKISH TALENT: New South Wales fullback James Tedesco has Italian heritage. NSWRL wants to encourage more cultures to play rugby league, particularly Indians.
FREAKISH TALENT: New South Wales fullback James Tedesco has Italian heritage. NSWRL wants to encourage more cultures to play rugby league, particularly Indians. DAVE HUNT

NSWRL chases a culturally diverse game

RUGBY LEAGUE: Coffs Coast residents with Indian heritage who have wanted to try rugby league will be able to do so in an environment they feel comfortable in.

NSWRL has secured government funding of $400,000 over four years to expand its successful Try League pilot program for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across Western Sydney, South Western Sydney and Coffs Harbour.

The NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams pledged his government's support for the rugby league program targeted at breaking down barriers and social isolation for people from diverse communities, in particular for children of Indian and Chinese background.

CALD to Try League is based on a pilot program run by NSWRL in 2018 in Blacktown for a mixed gender 10-week social inclusion program for under-6 and under-9 ages, where 30 per cent of participants were of Indian descent. They learned to play the game in a fun, non-competitive format.

"While researching the pilot program, we discovered there was an appetite for rugby league within the Indian community, via second and third generations, however no one had previously approached community leaders and explained the benefits of the game and its ability to break down social barriers,” NSW Rugby League chief executive David Trodden said.

"This program is designed to make culturally and linguistically diverse sections of our community feel as welcome as they should.”

Programs will be held across school terms leading into the junior rugby league season to encourage participants to continue their social inclusion experience.



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