The Wingham Tigers will host two junior rugby league games in Gloucester this Saturday

Homecoming: Several junior rugby league players from Gloucester will turn out for the Wingham Tigers this weekend in under 10s and under 14s action.
Homecoming: Several junior rugby league players from Gloucester will turn out for the Wingham Tigers this weekend in under 10s and under 14s action.

Group Three Junior Rugby League (JRL) returns to Gloucester for the first time in 2017, on Saturday, July 1 at the Gloucester Sporting Complex.

After going into recess this year, several Gloucester Magpie players made the trek over to continue playing junior league with the Wingham Tigers.

As there are several children now playing for Wingham, they offered to take a couple of junior league ‘home’ games back to Gloucester, so as to try and help give junior league a presence in Gloucester again.

Local players Riley Schafer is playing in the under eights, William Wooster is in the under nines, Zac Schafer, Stuart Turner, Codie Hardy, Rhys Summerville are playing with the under 10s and Bailey Whitby and Dylan Ruysch are playing with the under 14s.

The boys generally train with the Gloucester Magpies on Tuesday nights, and only travel to Wingham for ball work sessions on Thursday or Friday nights.

Wingham Junior Rugby League Club president Darrin Lewis said that all former Magpies are playing well and their teams are competitive in this year’s competition.

“The under 10s and under 14s look to be semi-final contenders at this stage, while the under eights and nines have strong rosters and are having a great time playing mini league.

“The parents and kids have showed great commitment by travelling to Wingham for training, and even further afield for playing.

“So by bringing a couple of games over, it helps to promote the game in Gloucester, but also gives the parents a well deserved sleep in,” Mr Lewis said.

“Bailey Whitby has been having a stellar season, and has again represented Group Three at the Country Championships,” Mr Lewis said.

Gloucester JRL will be hoping to field teams in the Group Three Junior League again next year and it is hoped that by playing these junior league games at Gloucester they may ignite the passion for some aspiring NRL players to play junior league with Gloucester Magpies.

This year, the NRL changed the mini league format and rules to encourage more kids to play. The changes have increased the amount of involvement the children get to have while playing mini league.

The under sixes and under sevens now only have six players per team and six tackles per set. In theory, every child in the team now gets the chance to run the ball at least once every set.

All mini league games are now played over eight minute quarters, which gives the kids even more game time.

The mini league competition only includes teams in the southern area of the Group Three competition: Taree, Wingham, Old Bar and Forster.

If you have any children are interested in playing junior league in 2018, please contact president of Gloucester Junior Rugby League Rod Summerville on 0401 181 964 for more details.

On July 1, the under 14s Wingham Tigers will open the day at 10am against the undefeated Wauchope Blues followed by the under 10s at 11.10am against the Port Macquarie Sharks.

We look forward to seeing a big crowd there to welcome the Gloucester Junior League players back to town!