Sports Industry AU

What happens off the field in Australian Sport

2019 NRL Participation

Nationally, Club Rugby League grew by 1.23 per cent. This was largely driven by female participation which continued its strong upward trend with 18.4 per cent growth across all ages. 

This amounts to a total of 28,000 women and girls that registered to play club rugby league across tackle and tag formats in 2019. The strongest performing age segments for females were the 10–12 years group (+27.8 per cent) and the 13–15 years group (+24 per cent).

League Stars has made a positive impact in 2019 with over 11,000 registered participants consisting of 81 per cent registering to rugby league for the first time. Our Game Development Officers have delivered over 500 programs nationally in the short period the program has been in market.


  • 62,009 male and female players registered to play club rugby league
  • 29 per cent growth in female rugby league with 7459 registered club players


One third of all nationally registered players participate in Country Rugby League (CRL) competitions and a 13 per cent increase now sees more than 13,000 women competing in CRL competitions. 

The continual growth of female participation saw CRL record an increase, with more than 60,000 registered players representing more than 500 clubs across Regional NSW. An additional 2500 players participated in alternative competitions, such as the women’s 9s.


Participation at the community rugby league level grew by 12 per cent in 2019, including a 10 per cent rise in male players and a 17 per cent rise in female players.


Player participation grew by 6.5 per cent overall with a 10 per cent rise in female players and 5 per cent rise in male players.


The rugby league footprint expanded in 2019 with growth in regional areas including Albany, Kimberley and Pilbara; however, community rugby league participation overall fell by 1.79 per cent in Western Australia in 2019.


Rugby league growth was achieved with an increase of over 19 per cent in community rugby league club participation.  The inaugural women’s rugby league competition was formed in Adelaide with 50 new female players joining he club rugby league community.  A spring rugby league Nines competition was a huge success and attracted more than 150 players who did not participate in the winter club competition.