The success of the Kiwis and Warriors in recent times, as well as a host of NZRL development programmes, are having an effect on the numbers playing rugby league with registered player numbers for 2011 up more than 38 per cent on 2010.

"For the second year in a row we've seen a significant increase in our player participation numbers," NZRL chief executive Jim Doyle said. "With our numbers now topping 33,500, there is no doubting that our efforts to grow the game are proving successful, and it's pleasing to see that we've not only retained those who joined us last year, but also added to them in such significant numbers.

"In the past year alone we've had a 35 percent increase in the participation numbers of teenagers. The addition of our national competition has offered our players in this all important age group meaningful competition and the opportunity to progress to elite level with the addition of 16s and 18s resident teams this year. We've had excellent feedback about the value of this competition and it will continue in 2012.

"The biggest percentage increase was actually women's rugby league, and we are already working on programmes to further grow this area in 2012."


The NZRL visited more than 17 towns and cities and had more than 4500 children and 619 parents take part in a range of free league related activities in the past two years. Youth participation numbers across the country are up 97 per cent since the Community Camp programmes started.