For the third year, New Zealand Rugby League has taken part in Sport New Zealand’s Voice of the Participants survey that aims to understand what is important to rugby league players and how our clubs are performing.

The purpose of the survey is to provide New Zealand Rugby League and its clubs with an understanding of the experiences received within the clubs. The purpose being to better the experience for all those involved in rugby league in order to retain and grow participation in rugby league through clubs.

Over 1200 people participated in the national survey providing these initial findings:

– Four in five (78%) of rugby league respondents indicated they are likely or very likely to rejoin their current club next season
– 65% of those surveyed indicated that they were very or extremely satisfied with the overall experience of playing rugby league at their club. This was the highest satisfaction rate of all sports who participated in the national survey
– 67% of respondents said they were likely to recommend their club to someone else
– 72% of players felt that their club encourages good sportsmanship and fair play

Feedback also helped to identify some areas for improvement which would enhance club members’ experiences:

– To ensure there are more opportunities to support volunteers (match officials, coaches etc) for further upskill and experience
– To provide a welcoming environment and a place that people want to be a part of (e.g clean and well maintained facilities, introduction flyers, meeting club committee members)

As a result, New Zealand Rugby League have:
– Further invested in the educator programme (coach educators and referee coaches) strengthening the pathways for volunteers
Rolled out the ACC LeagueSmart course that provides online support for volunteers
– With the support of the crown agencies, made a slight adjustment to the ‘Be a Sport’ programme to ‘Be a Good Sport’ to further promote parental understanding around appropriate sideline behaviour, smoke free and alcohol free sidelines (Click here for Good Sports resources)
-Worked with rugby league staff throughout NZ to enable them to support their clubs with junior programmes such as Backyard League, Volunteer Engagement Strategies and planning and budgeting documents.

The feedback received through these surveys proves invaluable for New Zealand Rugby League to continue improving our sport at its grassroots level.

The full report for NZRL can be found here.