Booming: Grassroots effort boosts Crocs’ junior players
THE Capricorn Coast Crocs may reach a registration record this year, an achievement junior’s coordinator Vanessa Rauluni says is thanks to a strong focus on accessibility and sociability.
A document from the Rugby Union club’s Annual General Meeting on Sunday showed there were 160 registered junior players in 2019; this year, there have already been 120 sign-ups, with several teams yet to be filled.
Mrs Rauluni has been the coordinator for three years and said the club’s success was due to a grassroots effort to make playing more welcoming.
“We started a roster of sponsors and parents donating food and drinks to our players and visiting teams, so when you come to the rugby everyone gets a snag, bottle of water, or a bag of lollies,” she said.
“The idea was to create a community where everyone could come and everyone was welcome. “Many of our kids, their registration is sponsored to make it accessible.
“As a result of this we have booming numbers.”
The Crocs start prospective footballers early - children as young as 4 can play in its non-tackle under 6s side.
Mrs Rauluni said turning training and match-playing into more social events encouraged participation.
“Particularly for parents with very young children and it’s their first experience with sport,” she said.
“At our training days with our juniors we have free coffee and tea. We have an incredibly supportive player and parent group, and we also have an amazing coaching team.
“We love the diversity. Rugby itself is a game where there’s a spot on the field no matter how little or big you are.”