7 Reasons Your Son MUST Play Rugby League

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Winter time Saturday mornings in Sydney have always meant one thing for this family- rugby league.

Our very dedicated Mr8, aka Rusty Rocket, has a match on Saturday and if the team wins, they’re through to the Grand Finals. He’s an absolutely passionate rugby league player and he’s excited, yet devastated to have the end of season looming.

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Now I wouldn’t go and play a game of rugby league myself, not even for a million dollars. But all of my boys have absolutely loved playing, especially on a very muddy pitch when it’s raining.

I am deeply grateful to the mums and dads who run our local rugby league club. They might never know how much our family has benefited from the wonderful community they create. But I do know, and I’m very grateful indeed.

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Here are lots of photos from a sunny Saturday morning recently, and some (un-asked for) advice for mothers of wee boys, mums who might be a bit wary of their sons starting to play such a rough and tumble game.

Mums, they’ll love it… and doing what we love is the very stuff of life!

Here are my reasons why you won’t regret putting your son out there on the paddock.

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7 Reasons Your Son Must Play Rugby League


1. Your son needs to move

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For his body, for his growth, for his muscles, for his brain, for his future health and wellbeing.  For the thrill, for the buzz, for the way it makes his body feel. He needs to move. We mums and dads do too and for all the same reasons.

2. You son needs good male role models in his life

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He does, and the more the merrier. Especially for immigrants like my family, the role models sports clubs provide are an absolute godsend. This is the biggest reason I need to thank our local club. My son’s dad is away a lot of the time and they love and need those strong, firm but fair blokes they see twice a week.

3. Your son needs to lose

Because it is character building, because it’s good practice for life, because he will get over it and he needs to know that.

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4. Your son needs to win

Because it’s bonding, because it feels good, because he needs to know that there are rewards for effort.


5. Your son needs to be part of a team

Because they need to know people are there to help, because they need to know their mistakes can be forgiven, because they need to know how to forgive others and how to share in their successes too.

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6. Your son needs your rapt attention

It fills your boy’s soul up to see mum and dad staring hard,  following each thundering, speedy footstep. It makes your boy know you love him more than you love your phone!

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7. Your son needs community, and so do you

And these suburban sporting clubs are the very essence of our communities. So much work and love poured into them, and really all for the sake of the kids. It’s a very pure goodwill that we see and feel, week in and week out.

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Hooray for the coffee van!

To the men and women who run our local rugby league club, I salute you.  And I thank you for being part of my sons’ lives and for giving them so many experiences that will stand them in good stead, for their childhood and adolescence.

And for a lifetime.

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Here’s our wee man, here’s primed and ready for the final match of the season this weekend.

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  1. says: Robyn

    This is awesome and I could not agree with you more!! This is our 3rd season of rugby and my boy loves it too. He has really thrived this season and I’m very sad to see it coming to an end. We’ve actually signed on to play touch rugby over the summer this year. Xx

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes, I’m feeling that sadness too, that it’s soon to be all over. Of course, I’m not so thrilled on windy, cold and wet Saturday mornings. Does your boy play cricket? I think Mr8 will again this summer… summer feels so far away, doesn’t it?

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Thanks Averil, I was using a new wide angle lens for most of these shots, and have been learning more about processing them in the ‘digital darkroom.’

  2. says: Mairi Stones

    I agree whole heartedly, my teen still plays rugby here in Scotland and loves it. He’s broken his collar bone, cracked his wrist, had black eyes and lots of bruises and nothing puts him off. Like you say it’s a passion and passions need pursed. If I had listened to naysayers I would have stopped him for fear of these injuries, but that’s my stuff not his. X

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hi, what is it about boys and running full pelt into other people?? It’s not for me but they love it. We did ask Ms8 is she wanted to play – it’d be so handy if they both did sport together – but she wasn’t totally not interested.

  3. says: Rebecca (Little Munch)

    Totally agree with you Seana. My boys started Union this year and I copped a bit of criticism from other Mums…”aren’t you worried about them hitting their head or breaking their neck” type of stuff. But let me tell you they haven’t been hurt once due to the amazing effort their coaches put into training them correctly. I got the dreaded call from school today – my 5 yr old got tripped in the playground hit his head badly and the ambulance was on the way – this didn’t happen once during the whole footy season!!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      That’s the same with us, quite a few people asking if we weren’t worried about them… sometimes I do feel a bit worried eg when teen14 is at the very bottom of a pile of huge players (he plays union)… but I’d be more worried if they didn’t play – they get such a lot out of it.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I think I’m especially grateful to the many dads who help out cos my boys miss their dad when he’s away… I am so over this FIFO lifestyle at the moment!!! Cricket is a great game for kids, and a really harsh one too when they get bowled out – ouch.

  4. Hi Seana,

    Love all your reasons for doing rugby and they apply to all sport. I totally agree it’s so important to get the kids into something. It’s basketball for my boys – they don’t seem to like the contact thing and we’re not a very sporty family but it’s what they like best and offers all the advantages you mention. Meanwhile my daugher’s doing soccer! It wouldn’t suprise me if she got into rugby next – she’s tough 😉

    1. says: Seana Smith

      She is tough… maybe she could persuade my Little Ms to get on the soccer pitch, I’ve never had a soccer player before. I think a team sport would be great for her too… I used to play hockey, wonder if girls play that much here??

      1. says: Kim

        Hockey is a very popular sport in the Northern Beaches – we have about 1000 girls and boys playing at Curl Curl every Saturday. It is one of the few sports I (mum) can play in a team with my son … And many mums play with their daughters. It’s a great family game, I started playing again after a break of a mere 28 years!

        1. says: Seana Smith

          Thank you Kim, that’s great to know. I’ll find some info. It’s a worrying 32 years since I was in the 2nd XI… but I’m sure I could get back into it!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I bet you’re like me, Sonia, and never in a million years would run onto a rugby pitch yourself… but just love seeing the boys being so passionate and so bloody happy.

  5. says: Josh

    My boys (7 and 9) play Rugby Union due to RL being played on a Sunday here in Canberra 🙁 however one of the great advantages Rugby League has over Union is it’s simplicity. It is a team sport but one where the boys can just go for it at times as well. In junior RL the boys tend to get their hands on the ball alot more and the lack of rucks I think creates a cleaner and simpler game especially for younger boys. Because they get their hands on the ball alot more they develop better passing skills and tackling skills from those I see developing in union.

    The nature of RL makes it a better game for the boys to play over the other contact sports in my view. Point 8 😉

  6. says: Alisha

    I understand that this is about your son but you could have made it so it’s aimed at both male and female rugby players. I’m female and i have played for nearly 11 years, I played for a lads team for 6 years and I can assure you that girls rugby is just as good as boys rubgy. Each are equal so this should be about children in general not just boys

  7. says: Gabrielle

    Is there a reason why you believe our sons should play rugby but not our daughters? I’m genuinely interested in why girls were completely excluded from this post.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello, I did think about writing something to just mention girls… but decided not to as I’m writing from my own experience and to write anything about girls would have been sheer tokenism… I have three sons who have all played league, the youngest still does. In all the years of standing at the sidelines, I have seen one girl play. I have zero experience of girls playing rugby league and so decided to stick to what I know.

      Having said that, if I was a parent of a daughter who plays, I might be a bit nonplussed to read this.

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