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At a time when more children are playing Rugby League than ever before, the official supermarket of the NRL, Coles, has partnered with the Australian Rugby League Commission to deliver a national ‘Backyard League’ program that will engage a further 125,000 students each year, giving each their own Steeden football and a Rugby League experience that will last a lifetime.

Origin legends Darren Lockyer and Andrew Johns put aside state rivalries on the eve of Sydney’s Harvey Norman State of Origin showdown to launch Coles Backyard League with students from Coogee Public School.

The five-week Coles Backyard League program ensures boys and girls can quickly and safely grasp the game’s basics with just six set rules and a focus on developing skills and understanding as children play to their own level of athletic ability.

In two years, programs like Backyard League have reached 1.25million students nationally and the new partnership with Coles will significantly increase the program’s national reach as children are inspired to use their imagination in designing a game that best suits their own skill level.

“This is a great way of getting kids involved in the game,” Lockyer said today.

“It encourages them to have fun and feel confident and hopefully they’ll want to kick the footy around the backyard for years to come.”

ARL Commission General Manager, League Integration and Development, Mr Andrew Hill, added: “Backyard League is changing the way children first get to experience Rugby League.

“It’s fun, it empowers children to create their own games and over the five-week program they get the opportunity to develop their skills and their imaginations.

“To have Coles join Rugby League in encouraging healthy living and having fun through sport will take the success of this program to new levels and help deliver more than 125,000 footballs into the hands of children across Australia each year.”

Coles Group Marketing Director, Mr Simon McDowell, said this new partnership reinforced Coles’ commitment to supporting children’s healthy active lifestyles and encouraging grass-roots sports programs in communities across Australia.

“As demonstrated with our Coles Sports for Schools program, we are constantly striving to encourage children to get active in sports and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Mr McDowell said.

“We are thrilled to be able to support the innovative Backyard League initiative, and further enhance our commitment to schools and kids.”

To be part of Coles Backyard League and for more information, log on to

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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