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Origin legends Darren Lockyer and Andrew Johns put aside state rivalries to launch Coles Backyard League – a national program that will engage 125,000 children annually in a rugby league experience that will last a lifetime.

At a time when more children are playing rugby league than ever before, the new partnership reinforces the commitment shared by Coles and rugby league to supporting children’s healthy active lifestyles.

As the official supermarket of the NRL, Coles will not only help deliver the five-week Backyard League program to school students across Australia, but will also provide each participant with their very own Steeden football.

Introduced for the first time in 2010, the Coles Backyard League empowers boys and girls to negotiate their own rules whilst allowing them to quickly and safely grasp the game’s basics.

Being a more informal style of rugby league, it gives children the basics to play in any location and at any time using just six set rules. They learn the fundamental skills to play and the confidence to play safely because they can adapt the game to suit the athletic ability of the group.

Importantly, the program is not only one that gets kids active but which develops their imaginations and helps bring home rugby league’s Eat Well Play Well Stay Well message.

The Backyard League initiative brings together a number of important skills and allows more children across Australia to play rugby league because it can be played by boys and girls together, of all sizes and abilities.

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 yesterday.

“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.”

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

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