IF YOU have been following the junior league this season and thought teams looked a little light on numbers, then you would be right.
Central Highlands Junior Rugby League has been trialling an 11-a-side format this year as part of a wider strategy to net more juniors into playing ranks.
The move saved a number of grades at various clubs from collapse and forced players to think differently as to how they played the game.
“A lot of players can see it is more open and a real benefit,” CH president Boyd Vickers said.
“It has forced them to hone their defence a bit better – their one-on-one defence now has to be spot on.
“Dysart under-17s and 18s probably would not have had a side if we didn’t do this.”
The change was not greeted with the same enthusi-asm right across the region, with others arguing it has led to run-around tactics by some teams who have adopted an under-6 standard of football.
Vickers defended the trial and said the change had not been as dramatic as some had portrayed.
“To them it looks like we are trying to change the wheel,” he said.
“They are not really seeing what we are trying to do.
“We just want to encourage some of the smaller clubs back into the competition.”
The 11-a-side trial will end for most clubs this Easter but will continue in smaller centres should low playing numbers warrant it.
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