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“I think it’s a waste of time” – Mark Riddell on non-contact Rugby League

2019 will see the introduction of a non-contact Rugby League competition called Blues Tag designed to encourage more people to play the game

The NSW Rugby League confirmed the reports on the weekend saying teenage boys concerned about getting hurt playing against much larger opponents are being offered the chance to play the new non-contact competition in a bid to stop the exodus of young males playing Rugby League.

It will run alongside the full-tackle version of rugby league and will kick off next season.

Speaking on the Macquarie Sports Radio Breakfast show, former NRL star Mark Riddell was scathing in his criticism of the new competition, “I don’t agree with it. I think it’s a waste of time, I think it’s a waste of resources and funding that could be much better spent. I don’t like it at all.”

“At the end of the day I just don’t know why as a game we’re worrying about introducing all these other variations of the game that aren’t actually the game when we should be trying to increase participation numbers in Rugby League and getting kids to play Rugby League, not all these other variations so you can increase your participation numbers to make yourself look good.” Riddell added.

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The former Dragons, Eels and Roosters hooker went on to explain how he approaches teaching his kids how to tackle bigger players, “Look I’ve got a bit of an older school on the philosophy on the whole ‘Kids in collisions and tackles’. I’ve coached under 6’s I’ve coached under 7’s and the like. My young bloke (son), if he says ‘Dad they’re (opposition players) too big’ it’s not about saying ‘oh well you can go play touch football then you don’t have to worry about tackling.’ It’s about the next time we’re at training on a Tuesday we’re going to practice how to tackle. I’m going to make you a better tackler. I’m going to make you learn how to tackle safely. So then when we play against the big kids again, you’re going to improve as a footballer you’re going to improve as a tackler and you’re going to be able to tackle him around the legs and drop him to the ground.”

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Listen to the FULL chat with Mark Levy and Mark Riddell below: