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Alex Glenn takes on the Eels defence in Round 1.

As the NRL prepares to celebrate Play NRL Round this week - players, officials and staff alike are opening up on their experiences in junior rugby league.

Play NRL Round is focused on encouraging people of all ages – from six to 60 and beyond, to sign up to enjoy their local footy – whether it be playing; coaching; volunteering; or refereeing.

For Brisbane Broncos second-rower Alex Glenn, it's family that proved to be his biggest influence throughout his rugby league career. 

Glenn says although rugby union was everywhere as he grew up in New Zealand, for him rugby league was always the sport he wanted to play.  

"Rugby League has always been a big thing in our family. Before I could start walking I already had a football in my hand," Glenn said.  

"Rugby union has always dominated in New Zealand but for my family it was always rugby league. I guess it was just in the nature of our family to start playing rugby league at the age of five. 

"I started playing at Northcote Tigers in Auckland when I was five. I played there until I was 14 and then I moved over to Australia and joined the Burleigh Bears. 

"I was pretty lucky growing up. I had a big family. My mum was in a family of nine so I had plenty of uncles that played rugby league. As I was growing up I had my uncle Tony as my coach for numerous years and he taught me a lot when I was young."

Glenn's tight-nit family provided him with a platform to pursue a career in rugby league. 

He says the memories he made through rugby league are something he wants to share with his newborn son Miller Alexander Glenn.

"One of my best memories growing up is when I was able to go and watch all my uncles play. I'd play Saturday morning and then go and watch them after that," he said.  

"Our weekends were always filled with rugby league. That will be something I never forget. 

"My cousins and I would play footy on the sideline while my uncles played. That's something I want my little son to grow up with. It would be great if he had a similar upbringing."

The 27-year-old hopes the next generation will continue to get involved with the sport that has provided him with so many friendships and opportunities over his 22-years of involvement.  

"Rugby league is a fun sport. You get to go out there with your mates and take some aggression out on the opposition. Most importantly you get to make a lot of friends and that's why I got into rugby league," he said.  

"As a kid you always want to be outside and playing around. Rugby league gives you an opportunity to do that with your mates, you get to throw the football around and just have some fun. 

"The reason why I loved rugby league so much as a kid is because of all the friends I made while keeping healthy and enjoying life." 

Acknowledgement of Country

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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