Growth begins at home for Super League clubs
A record number of young, home grown players were given their chance to shine on the big stage in the 2011 Engage Super League season, according to official statistics.
During the 2011 regular season, a total of 101 players aged 21 or under featured in Rugby League’s elite competition, which also recorded a significant rise in the number of Club-Trained players and a dramatic fall in the number of Non-Federation Trained players.
All but two of the 101 youngsters – Samy Masselot and Ryan Tongia of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats – were British born.
Figures from the RFL show that during the 27 rounds of Super League, the average number of Under-21s in each club’s 17-man squad was almost three (2.72), a 30 per cent increase year on year.
In addition, the average number of Club-Trained players per 17-man squad this season was almost seven (6.96), up from an average of just over five in 2007.
It is the fifth consecutive year that the sport’s elite competition has recorded rises in home grown players and is further evidence of the investment all clubs have made in their talent identification and development programmes.
“It’s very pleasing for us to see that all the hard work that the clubs have been putting in at youth and community level over the last few years are now paying dividends on the pitch,” said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.
“To see so many home grown players and exciting young talent coming through the ranks at all the clubs in the competition is testimony to the work of all involved.
“By encouraging clubs to create more club trained players they develop stronger links within their communities which will lead to creating a larger pool of players available for national selection and that in turn will hopefully lead to international success in the future.”
St Helens continue to lead the way in Super League, with the Merseyside club averaging over 11 Club-Trained players per 17-man squad selection whilst 34 per cent of their match day team in 2011 comprised players aged under 21.
The numbers of Non-Federation Trained players has fallen again in 2011, with matchday squads featuring an average of just 3.2 players, a fall of 22 per cent compared to 2010 and a 42 per cent reduction since the Club-Trained rules were introduced in 2008.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were the leading club in this area, with only 4.8 per cent of their line-ups throughout the season classified as Non-Federation Trained players.