The NRL’s Your local club Road to Regions program will take off for another year in 2022 as a range of former players and ambassadors take part in community visits across Australia.
The annual Road to Regions program — which was rescheduled from earlier this year due to the ongoing COVID pandemic — will reach far and wide in 2022, with parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia set to take part in visits for the first time, while Victoria and South Australia return for a second year.
The program aims to support and empower rugby league communities in regional and remote areas of Australia, while encouraging the local community to engage with rugby league as players, officials, volunteers, or fans.
Former players and ambassadors will deliver a range of key messages and programs including the NRL League Stars Inspire and Diversity workshop (where students learn about respect, teamwork, and diversity), junior league clinics, coaching clinics, and gala days.
The Your local club NRL Road to Regions tour provides a unique and valuable opportunity to give back to communities and fans from towns that aren’t frequently visited, while also providing support to communities to have been affected by the recent natural disasters.
NRL Acting Head of Participation, Pathways and Community Andrew Every said it was incredibly pleasing to see the Road to Regions program launched for 2022.
"We are extremely excited to see the Your Local Club NRL Road to Regions 2022 program take off for another year as NRL staff, players and former stars embark on a series of school, junior club and community visits throughout remote and regional Australia," said Mr. Every.
“With the recent hardships we have seen in NSW and Queensland with the floods, we are eager to get back out into the community to excite, unite, and inspire our communities.
"This year, Road to Regions will visit the Northern Territory and Western Australia for the first time, with Katherine, Hedland, and Karratha on the map. Other regions across Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales include Sunraysia, Adelaide, Central Burnett and the NSW Northern Riverina.
“It will be fantastic to see current and formers stars visit regional towns throughout March, April and May sharing the NRL League Stars Inspire Inclusion and Diversity workshop, which ties in nicely with the NRL’s inaugural Multicultural Round to be hosted during round one and round five of the NRL and NRLW Telstra Premierships.
“As our partnership enters the second year, we thank Clubs NSW for their continuous support and sponsorship of Road To Regions under the 'Your Local Club' banner,” Mr. Every added. “We understand the importance of how local clubs enrich community life and are a critical financial supporter of our game".
Clubs NSW CEO Josh Landis said the organisation was proud to support the program.
“The NSW club industry is proud to contribute tens of millions of dollars to elite and grassroots rugby league every year, making the sport more accessible for kids and helping to create a pathway for talented young players,” said Mr. Landis.
“The last two years have been enormously challenging for people in regional areas — they’ve battled through bushfires, a global pandemic and now devastating floods, so we’re delighted to be sponsoring the 2022 Road to Regions program and delivering joy to some of the worst affected communities.
“Road to Regions allows former rugby league stars to introduce their beloved game to kids in remote areas while teaching them about resilience and how to look after their mental health, which the club industry is very passionate about.
“Outside of the financial and in-kind support for rugby league, clubs also provide a social hub for fans to come together and watch the game, which is why the relationship between the club industry and the NRL is so natural and enduring.”
To learn more about the Road to Regions program, visit nrl.com/roadtoregions.