I am often asked why I believe the Chinese can play rugby league. The answer is in the pathway.I have been going to the PRC since 1999 when I addressed Chinese coaches prior to the Sydney Olympics. The attatched photo is Chinese athletes from one of the six Sports Universities and these three young men all ran 100 m on grass is less than 10.4. The boy in red later in the day and 10.2. I used standards given to be by NRL HP coaches.
Chinese athletes like these young men are psychologically and physiologically equipped to play the game of rugby league. They have a background of martial arts so physical contact is not a consideration. Chinese athletes have no down time as given any assignment they will seek to achieve it as quick as possible.
It is our intent to create within China initially a national team of Nines men and women by means of coach and player education. The NRL has successful mirrored the EPL in developing athletes whose talent has been identified. Increasingly over the next decade more athletes will be recognised and enter the path in the junior reps or the Intrust state leagues.
An exhibition game will be played in Shanghai between two NRL clubs in which each team will contain at least three of the best Chinese players as guests. The presence of Chinese players on the field of play in Shanghai will have enormous fan awareness and immense commercial value. Sport speaks a language which is understood by all and it is my drivers believe that we need to engage with the Asian Australia community. At this present stage that community does not play, watch, view, attend, sponsor, read about, or engaging in any way of the game of rugby league. If we continue to neglect recognition of the enormous demographic changes within our nation and fail to engage strategically with the 7,000,000+ who were not born here then we will be doing this wonderful game a great disservice. The NSWRL and QRL with their Intrust second tier competitions of value will provide the platform for Asian players with Chinese dominating and this will be post Oct 2020, The RLIF has been most helpful in ensuring the progress takes place in an orderly manner and I thank an organisation for the advice. Chair George Peponis and CEO David trodden along with the NSWRL, Alan Jones, Tony Adams, Roy Masters, and the coaches of the NRL who never failed to reply to my asks.. So the answer to the question about China. Well by 2025 China will in the top four Nations in rugby league with women and top six in men.
It is hoped that the NRL adopts an Asian China rugby league strategy so all Australians engage as one nation yet be loyal to heritage and homeland collectively through rugby league
Paul Broughton Chair China Australia Sport Education