PROGRAM NEEDED: PJ Marsh, pictured with Joel and Jacob Van Zanden, wants to see a rugby league program for local youngsters.
PROGRAM NEEDED: PJ Marsh, pictured with Joel and Jacob Van Zanden, wants to see a rugby league program for local youngsters. Chris Ison

Son of former NRL star takes to Aussie Rules instead

FORMER NRL great PJ Marsh was not his usual, enthusiastic self last week.

Marsh had just called CQ NRL Bid CEO Denis Keeffe and Keeffe said Marsh hadn't been himself because he had just signed his son up to the AFL's Auskick program.

While Marsh said he supported his son in whatever endeavour he chose, he questioned why the NRL did not have a similar program for youngsters.

He said AFL had made its presence known in the mining town of Middlemount, where the Marsh family was based, but rugby league had not made the same effort in the three years he lived there.

"It is like the NRL in general has taken its popularity in western and central Queensland for granted and not followed up with junior programs, like Auskick, therefore losing kids to different football codes," Marsh said.

"I don't know what the NRL should do, but obviously the AFL do.

"The NRL needs to step up."

Growing up in Blackwater, Marsh said he remembered an AFL field but not playing on it and not knowing much about the code until he was 12 or 13 years old. Meanwhile, his son was a professed West Coast Eagles fan and knew the players in the team. He suggested the NRL needed to talk to the AFL because it had obviously implemented a program that worked. Above all, Marsh encouraged central Queensland to get behind the CQ NRL Bid.

"We need to get behind it and push harder," Marsh said.


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