The Rugby League community is a multicultural one, reflecting the diversity of modern Australia. Historically, Rugby League attracted players with English, Irish and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
Later the game attracted players whose parents and grandparents came from Lebanon, Italy, Greece and Malta. We are one of the most culturally diverse sports in Australia and New Zealand.
In recent times, players with Pacifica and Maori backgrounds are increasingly reflected in rugby league ranks. Across the NRL competition, 45% identify as Pacifica and Maori and 12% as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
In our NRLW competition 48% identify as Pacifica and Maori, and 14% identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Across both elite competitions, we have representation from several Countries, including New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, England, Fiji and PNG. Over 12,000 of our Grassroots participants are born overseas.
Over many years the NRL has developed and implemented a range of programs and events to promote and celebrate inclusion and multicultural diversity in the game. These include ‘In League In Harmony’, the Pacific Outreach Program, Harmony Cups and Pacific Tests. Since its inception, we have reached over 10,000 youth through In League in Harmony and currently have 50 staff working across the Pacific.
Round 3 of the 2022 NRLM and Round 5 of the NRLW Premiership seasons will launch the inaugural NRL Multicultural Round. A themed Round where we celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of every player, participant, staff member and fan in the Rugby League community.
Importantly the round is not about ‘otherness’, it is about the way each and every one of us have a cultural heritage worth celebrating, and it is the melting pot of these cultural influences that makes Australia and Rugby League such a rich and diverse community to be a part of.
The 2022 theme of the NRL Multicultural Round is Stronger Together.
Wherever you’re from.
Whenever you arrived.
We’re stronger together.