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On 14/04/2021 at 17:43, Man of Kent said:

It's a weird one because our games are notionally under the 02 Touch umbrella but the sessions seems to be run by England Touch, which works with the RFL (as well as the RFU) and is affiliated to the Federation of International Touch, which in turn is affiliated to the NRL via Touch Football Australia.

Also, I notice Wigan Touch Warriors are one of the leading touch sides in England. So touch is not a totally union thing here.

When Touch Australia formally linked with the NRL, there was an attempt by the latter to encourage the replacement of the rollball with a PTB, to visibly align Touch with RL. It proved unavailing, either because Touch players prefer the rollball, or because it would have put the Aussies outside the global Touch mainstream, with implications for international competition.

The best RL can hope for from Touch is a neutral outcome. i.e. where Union is dominant, Touch is under the aegis of RU; where League is dominant, Touch is under the aegis of RL. Moot point who oversees a fixture between a team from Wigan and a team from Kent. And more important moot point how any potential Sport England funds are distributed.

All this underlines the fact that if we want a non-contact form exclusively associated with RL as a means of growing our participation rates, memberships, and fanbase, particularly in non-heartland areas, it has to be a form of Tag, ideally League Tag.

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Every point you blokes make are legitimate reasons why this version of the sport should be considered part of the Rugby League family.  Like it or not RL is a physically demanding sport where not

Somebody on these pages recently referred to " both the contact and the non-contact versions of Rugby League". For the sake of the game TTRL must be claimed under the Rugby League banner world wide. T

From a non-heartlands perspective, it's likely to be a travel issue. If you can run a tag league in one location and get 4 or 5 teams there, you have a competition with zero travel. If you just added

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3 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

When Touch Australia formally linked with the NRL, there was an attempt by the latter to encourage the replacement of the rollball with a PTB, to visibly align Touch with RL. It proved unavailing, either because Touch players prefer the rollball, or because it would have put the Aussies outside the global Touch mainstream, with implications for international competition.

The best RL can hope for from Touch is a neutral outcome. i.e. where Union is dominant, Touch is under the aegis of RU; where League is dominant, Touch is under the aegis of RL. Moot point who oversees a fixture between a team from Wigan and a team from Kent. And more important moot point how any potential Sport England funds are distributed.

All this underlines the fact that if we want a non-contact form exclusively associated with RL as a means of growing our participation rates, memberships, and fanbase, particularly in non-heartland areas, it has to be a form of Tag, ideally League Tag.

Touch doesn’t need a PTB, to be fair. 

Often the ball carrier initiates contact to make a quick rollball for the dummy half to pass to a runner to gain yardage behind the ruck. A proper PTB would slow it down unnecessarily.

England Touch seems to be neither fish nor fowl but its own thing. 

Their 2019 report states ‘the partnership with the RFU and O2 Touch came to an end in 2019, due to our desire to be formally recognised by Sport England as the governing body for Touch in England.’

Their 2020 annual report states, ‘We will continue to work with the RFL (including the Rugby League World Cup 2021) and the RFU on the wider rugby offer and their Touch Rugby products of Play Touch Rugby League and O2 Touch respectively.’

Personally I’d prefer to play League tag but touch is the nearest I’ll get down here. 

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10 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Touch doesn’t need a PTB, to be fair. 

Often the ball carrier initiates contact to make a quick rollball for the dummy half to pass to a runner to gain yardage behind the ruck. A proper PTB would slow it down unnecessarily.

It`s partly the voluntary "take the touch" tactic that forms superficial parallels with basketball and handball in my mind when I see Touch.

It was originally codified at South Sydney Juniors as a training drill. Therefore more suitable for a bit of social fun, rather than a vehicle for competitive fixtures.

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6 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

It`s partly the voluntary "take the touch" tactic that forms superficial parallels with basketball and handball in my mind when I see Touch.

It was originally codified at South Sydney Juniors as a training drill. Therefore more suitable for a bit of social fun, rather than a vehicle for competitive fixtures.

There’s competitive tournaments, it’s great for fitness (my goodness, it’s aerobic!) and the mix of ages & sexes is commendable but, yeah, it’s no substitute for RL.

It’s not really a passing game. More like a running game with a ball in your hand occasionally.

I enjoy it, though 👍
 

 

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2 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

 

England Touch seems to be neither fish nor fowl but its own thing. 

Their 2019 report states ‘the partnership with the RFU and O2 Touch came to an end in 2019, due to our desire to be formally recognised by Sport England as the governing body for Touch in England.’

 

I wouldn't be so sure. The performance director for England Touch is an Aussie guy brought in to drive performance. He was interviewed on the Magic Academy sports coaching podcast last year, and I couldn't believe that he didn't mention rugby league once in what was roughly a 1 hour discussion. He mentioned union, and 'contact' rugby several times, but I didn't hear one mention of Rugby League (and I was specifically listening for it). Given that Touch Australia is under the NRL umbrella I could only assume it was a calculated and very deliberate omission, given Australia are as I'm sure you know, serial world champions at almost every grade. He seemed to be really pandering to the union types, talking about how to attract people from union and vice versa. 

 

I referee Touch myself, and was fortunate enough to referee at the last European championships. It was a fantastic experience. 

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5 hours ago, The Frying Scotsman said:

I wouldn't be so sure. The performance director for England Touch is an Aussie guy brought in to drive performance. He was interviewed on the Magic Academy sports coaching podcast last year, and I couldn't believe that he didn't mention rugby league once in what was roughly a 1 hour discussion. He mentioned union, and 'contact' rugby several times, but I didn't hear one mention of Rugby League (and I was specifically listening for it). Given that Touch Australia is under the NRL umbrella I could only assume it was a calculated and very deliberate omission, given Australia are as I'm sure you know, serial world champions at almost every grade. He seemed to be really pandering to the union types, talking about how to attract people from union and vice versa. 

 

I referee Touch myself, and was fortunate enough to referee at the last European championships. It was a fantastic experience. 

I just think they want to grow Touch. You can understand why they’d want to tap into the union player/fan base to drive up their participation/funding level etc. 

Cool that you reffed at the Euros. I’m playing in a regional tournament next month. Looking forward to it. 

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On 14/04/2021 at 17:43, Man of Kent said:

I'm enjoying playing touch again down here in Kent. Off to play in a minute, actually.

It's a weird one because our games are notionally under the 02 Touch umbrella but the sessions seems to be run by England Touch, which works with the RFL (as well as the RFU) and is affiliated to the Federation of International Touch, which in turn is affiliated to the NRL via Touch Football Australia.

Also, I notice Wigan Touch Warriors are one of the leading touch sides in England. So touch is not a totally union thing here.

Yeah, it's interesting, I've got a mate who is trialling for one of the England touch teams (over 35s I think?). For a lot of players where I am, touch is a Union thing for Union players but if you're in a League session and you say "let's play touch" people will naturally do League things (PTB, retreat on touch etc). For Union, although they roll the ball (although everyone calls it a chicken scratch) there's no retreat on a tackle mirroring the back foot rules of Union.

So I think that this idea that people naturally associate Touch with either code just depends on your existing bias - if you're a League person, you'll see it as a non-contact version of League and same if you're a Union person, the same thing.

And the players who play Touch under England Touch rules see themselves as very separate to either - they're trying to get people to recognise their sport as its own thing.

There's a lot of benefits to having a social touch thing - both the local Rugby Union and Rugby League club are now running "social touch" which are a weird conglomeration of various rules (and another Union club locally has just started advertising to do the same), mostly played for a social outlet and a bit of fitness between older lads. As someone who coaches at both clubs, what's interesting for me is that there are generally more people at Touch sessions than at 1st team sessions. So it seems to me like the best thing for clubs to do, especially community clubs, is to run their own touch sessions - especially if it's attracting players who are too old for full contact RL any more. Not only are they engaging with the club, but they're of an age where they might become volunteers or own their own business/know someone who does, and therefore could become a sponsor.

I think it's difficult/impossible to gain any real traction just by saying "ok it's Touch RL now." Even if you slap RFL branding on everything and use the word League over and over again. I think clubs have to build their own Touch/TTRL offers into their regular activities and get people engaged. A good example would be how active Cov Bears are in the Warwickshire TTRL. 

Especially for clubs outside the traditional Heartland areas, having non-contact versions is a good way to get people involved from a broader sphere than your contact players. Perhaps we have to broaden our definition of what counts as a "player" but also be aware of the opportunities to transition someone from touch player to contact player or to a different role within the club: volunteer, sponsor, supporter etc. Perhaps something that professional clubs could run in association with their local grassroots clubs - players could then transition into volunteer and playing roles with the grassroots clubs, and supporters for the pro club.

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26 minutes ago, zylya said:

Yeah, it's interesting, I've got a mate who is trialling for one of the England touch teams (over 35s I think?). For a lot of players where I am, touch is a Union thing for Union players but if you're in a League session and you say "let's play touch" people will naturally do League things (PTB, retreat on touch etc). For Union, although they roll the ball (although everyone calls it a chicken scratch) there's no retreat on a tackle mirroring the back foot rules of Union.

So I think that this idea that people naturally associate Touch with either code just depends on your existing bias - if you're a League person, you'll see it as a non-contact version of League and same if you're a Union person, the same thing.

And the players who play Touch under England Touch rules see themselves as very separate to either - they're trying to get people to recognise their sport as its own thing.

There's a lot of benefits to having a social touch thing - both the local Rugby Union and Rugby League club are now running "social touch" which are a weird conglomeration of various rules (and another Union club locally has just started advertising to do the same), mostly played for a social outlet and a bit of fitness between older lads. As someone who coaches at both clubs, what's interesting for me is that there are generally more people at Touch sessions than at 1st team sessions. So it seems to me like the best thing for clubs to do, especially community clubs, is to run their own touch sessions - especially if it's attracting players who are too old for full contact RL any more. Not only are they engaging with the club, but they're of an age where they might become volunteers or own their own business/know someone who does, and therefore could become a sponsor.

I think it's difficult/impossible to gain any real traction just by saying "ok it's Touch RL now." Even if you slap RFL branding on everything and use the word League over and over again. I think clubs have to build their own Touch/TTRL offers into their regular activities and get people engaged. A good example would be how active Cov Bears are in the Warwickshire TTRL. 

Especially for clubs outside the traditional Heartland areas, having non-contact versions is a good way to get people involved from a broader sphere than your contact players. Perhaps we have to broaden our definition of what counts as a "player" but also be aware of the opportunities to transition someone from touch player to contact player or to a different role within the club: volunteer, sponsor, supporter etc. Perhaps something that professional clubs could run in association with their local grassroots clubs - players could then transition into volunteer and playing roles with the grassroots clubs, and supporters for the pro club.

There's now over 300 players participating in TTRL weekly in Coventry and Leamington. There are also plans to set up a new league in Stratford upon Avon this summer. A few Coventry and Warwickshire players recently made the GB squad. It's been massively popular. I play every week and love it! 

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10 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

It`s partly the voluntary "take the touch" tactic that forms superficial parallels with basketball and handball in my mind when I see Touch.

That's my only move... dont take that out of the game. 

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19 minutes ago, zylya said:

Yeah, it's interesting, I've got a mate who is trialling for one of the England touch teams (over 35s I think?). For a lot of players where I am, touch is a Union thing for Union players but if you're in a League session and you say "let's play touch" people will naturally do League things (PTB, retreat on touch etc). For Union, although they roll the ball (although everyone calls it a chicken scratch) there's no retreat on a tackle mirroring the back foot rules of Union.

So I think that this idea that people naturally associate Touch with either code just depends on your existing bias - if you're a League person, you'll see it as a non-contact version of League and same if you're a Union person, the same thing.

And the players who play Touch under England Touch rules see themselves as very separate to either - they're trying to get people to recognise their sport as its own thing.

There's a lot of benefits to having a social touch thing - both the local Rugby Union and Rugby League club are now running "social touch" which are a weird conglomeration of various rules (and another Union club locally has just started advertising to do the same), mostly played for a social outlet and a bit of fitness between older lads. As someone who coaches at both clubs, what's interesting for me is that there are generally more people at Touch sessions than at 1st team sessions. So it seems to me like the best thing for clubs to do, especially community clubs, is to run their own touch sessions - especially if it's attracting players who are too old for full contact RL any more. Not only are they engaging with the club, but they're of an age where they might become volunteers or own their own business/know someone who does, and therefore could become a sponsor.

I think it's difficult/impossible to gain any real traction just by saying "ok it's Touch RL now." Even if you slap RFL branding on everything and use the word League over and over again. I think clubs have to build their own Touch/TTRL offers into their regular activities and get people engaged. A good example would be how active Cov Bears are in the Warwickshire TTRL. 

Especially for clubs outside the traditional Heartland areas, having non-contact versions is a good way to get people involved from a broader sphere than your contact players. Perhaps we have to broaden our definition of what counts as a "player" but also be aware of the opportunities to transition someone from touch player to contact player or to a different role within the club: volunteer, sponsor, supporter etc. Perhaps something that professional clubs could run in association with their local grassroots clubs - players could then transition into volunteer and playing roles with the grassroots clubs, and supporters for the pro club.

I'm not sure how it all works really. Our sessions are run by England Touch guys, and we're entering an England Touch-run South East Regional Touch tournament, but the players are mostly union types (grammar school boys and South Africans!). 

In the end, I'm not sure it really matters all that much which organisation is organising what. Just playing it is what's important. 

Seems to me the way forward is existing RL clubs - pro and amateur - to run touch sessions, ideally for all ages. Community, participation etc. I think some already do this.

Hear what you say that 'touch is a Union thing for union players and League for league players' but I do feel touch could be used as a way to get the union community to open their eyes to league a little bit. It's so much more like league than union. Six tackles, quick 'rucks', similar D etc. 

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2 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

There's now over 300 players participating in TTRL weekly in Coventry and Leamington. There are also plans to set up a new league in Stratford upon Avon this summer. A few Coventry and Warwickshire players recently made the GB squad. It's been massively popular. I play every week and love it! 

Scrolling down the Coventry Bears Twitter page, it was encouraging to see regular adverts for TTRL.

Is there any physical RL infrastructure in the area to capitalize on the success? When a club in NSW get those sort of numbers it means more money in their coffers via more memberships and people socialising at their clubhouse. Which helps them grow and build better facilities, which puts them in a place to attract even more participants - virtuous circle.

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23 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Scrolling down the Coventry Bears Twitter page, it was encouraging to see regular adverts for TTRL.

Is there any physical RL infrastructure in the area to capitalize on the success? When a club in NSW get those sort of numbers it means more money in their coffers via more memberships and people socialising at their clubhouse. Which helps them grow and build better facilities, which puts them in a place to attract even more participants - virtuous circle.

As far as I know TTRL works on franchising. The franchise in C&W is not owned by the Bears but they are involved. It would be up to other RL clubs if they wanted to take on a franchise. Obviously there are pros and cons to this sort of model, and wouldn't work for every club. But when it takes off there are good potential returns and chance for growth. 

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On 16/04/2021 at 13:37, unapologetic pedant said:

Good to hear that Touch can get people active in non-participation.

Lol. 

I have to say that contrary to opinion on here I love playing touch, don't care that we have to be part of a union set up and think the voluntary tackle/touch is actually is a key element to a quick re-start and getting the ball moving. 

Or I am always tired and just reach from some one to get me so I can stop running. 

 

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The article on Tag published today on the RFL site carries the most explicit recognition of Tag as a form of RL hitherto given.

I would still cavil at some of the terminology, and maintain they should be developing League Tag through community clubs for those players, particularly female, who want to make the step up from OzTag.

Nonetheless, a penny must be dropping. And you only have to look at the geographic spread of the listed Leagues to realise the value. Within that, there`s also a wider social background reach than in the heartlands Tackle game.

As always with the RFL and development, perseverance is the crux. The fact that they are currently showing more interest in the potential benefits of Tag, doesn`t mean it won`t all fade away.

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11 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

The article on Tag published today on the RFL site carries the most explicit recognition of Tag as a form of RL hitherto given.

I would still cavil at some of the terminology, and maintain they should be developing League Tag through community clubs for those players, particularly female, who want to make the step up from OzTag.

Nonetheless, a penny must be dropping. And you only have to look at the geographic spread of the listed Leagues to realise the value. Within that, there`s also a wider social background reach than in the heartlands Tackle game.

As always with the RFL and development, perseverance is the crux. The fact that they are currently showing more interest in the potential benefits of Tag, doesn`t mean it won`t all fade away.

With all the stuff coming out around a community membership scheme, I imagine the reason that TTRL will stay as-is will be the franchising model. Obviously if tag remains entirely self funding (and profitable for franchisees of course) then it will continue to grow.

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13 hours ago, zylya said:

With all the stuff coming out around a community membership scheme, I imagine the reason that TTRL will stay as-is will be the franchising model. Obviously if tag remains entirely self funding (and profitable for franchisees of course) then it will continue to grow.

Yes that's the advantage of the franchising model. I've seen the growth first hand in Coventry and Warwickshire. Started in one venue with 4 teams. It's now 3 venues and getting towards 40 teams. Leamington Spa will have 20 teams in the next league season! I would never have imagined it would be so popular there. 

Thats in less than 3 years and even with covid interruptions. It's a great sport and I can see it continue to grow rapidly over the next 10 years. 

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1 hour ago, OriginalMrC said:

Yes that's the advantage of the franchising model. I've seen the growth first hand in Coventry and Warwickshire. Started in one venue with 4 teams. It's now 3 venues and getting towards 40 teams. Leamington Spa will have 20 teams in the next league season! I would never have imagined it would be so popular there. 

Thats in less than 3 years and even with covid interruptions. It's a great sport and I can see it continue to grow rapidly over the next 10 years. 

"I agree that more might be done to ensure people know its RL they are playing but equally it needs to be seen as being accessible to everyone. The more people playing all versions RL the better IMO", this was taken from a post of yours from September 6 last year, do you think with the rapid increase in numbers there has been a corresponding increase in the awareness of the sports link with Rugby League.

If not in what ways do you think that awareness could be raised, seems to me that, as has been said repeatedly, League is traditionally associated in your country with `flatcaps and whippets` so to speak, the broader socio-economic reach of Tag Rugby League provides an opportunity to dispel or at least soften that image.

It would be great if your local League team could get some of those banners you see out the front on retail premises at games or even some sort of ticketing arrangement to attend League games.

image.png.8c6605eca9a4f44fd6726b8340c75ad1.png

You see these sort of things every where these days and I don`t imagine they are expensive.

 

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10 hours ago, The Rocket said:

"I agree that more might be done to ensure people know its RL they are playing but equally it needs to be seen as being accessible to everyone. The more people playing all versions RL the better IMO", this was taken from a post of yours from September 6 last year, do you think with the rapid increase in numbers there has been a corresponding increase in the awareness of the sports link with Rugby League.

If not in what ways do you think that awareness could be raised, seems to me that, as has been said repeatedly, League is traditionally associated in your country with `flatcaps and whippets` so to speak, the broader socio-economic reach of Tag Rugby League provides an opportunity to dispel or at least soften that image.

It would be great if your local League team could get some of those banners you see out the front on retail premises at games or even some sort of ticketing arrangement to attend League games.

image.png.8c6605eca9a4f44fd6726b8340c75ad1.png

You see these sort of things every where these days and I don`t imagine they are expensive.

 

I'm not sure what your point is? 

I think the answer is yes, TTRL does raise an awareness of the fact there is a local RL team, in fact there have been tag festivals and taster sessions run in conjuction with the club. 

And the banner you show are often displayed by Coventry Bears at various community events.

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25 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

I'm not sure what your point is? 

I think the answer is yes, TTRL does raise an awareness of the fact there is a local RL team, in fact there have been tag festivals and taster sessions run in conjuction with the club. 

And the banner you show are often displayed by Coventry Bears at various community events.

My question would be how much promotion of RL is there by TTR in non-heartland areas, particularly with the World Cup coming up with games in Coventry and London?

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28 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

My question would be how much promotion of RL is there by TTR in non-heartland areas, particularly with the World Cup coming up with games in Coventry and London?

Again I'm not sure what the questions means really. I don't think it's the responsibility of TTR to promote RL. I would imagine there will be various link ups of some kind. For example TTR players were able to buy discounted challenge Cup tickets amongst other things. In addition there is a social media presence which I am sure will be utilised. Again though TTR is partnered with the RFL who are their governing body but its not their job to promote RL 

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1 minute ago, OriginalMrC said:

Again I'm not sure what the questions means really. I don't think it's the responsibility of TTR to promote RL. I would imagine there will be various link ups of some kind. For example TTR players were able to buy discounted challenge Cup tickets amongst other things. In addition there is a social media presence which I am sure will be utilised. Again though TTR is partnered with the RFL who are their governing body but its not their job to promote RL 

You don't want to ram it down people's throats, I get that, and there's inherently some element of promotion merely by playing it.

Just interested in how/if the RFL and TTR work together to encourage those thousands of tag players in non-heartland areas to watch RL.  

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3 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

You don't want to ram it down people's throats, I get that, and there's inherently some element of promotion merely by playing it.

Just interested in how/if the RFL and TTR work together to encourage those thousands of tag players in non-heartland areas to watch RL.  

I think to be honest most people just want to play a sport, have a bit of fun and be competitive. I don't think many people want to be cross sold rugby league related stuff. However, there is quite a big social side to tag and for example teams that play tag have gone to Bears games. I am sure others will go to the world cup game at the Ricoh. 

There's been a lot of social media sharing and as I said promotions such as cheaper rugby league tickets. I think as a partnership it works well and I am sure will get better as more people get involved. 

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2 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

I think to be honest most people just want to play a sport, have a bit of fun and be competitive. I don't think many people want to be cross sold rugby league related stuff. However, there is quite a big social side to tag and for example teams that play tag have gone to Bears games. I am sure others will go to the world cup game at the Ricoh. 

There's been a lot of social media sharing and as I said promotions such as cheaper rugby league tickets. I think as a partnership it works well and I am sure will get better as more people get involved. 

I suspect part of the appeal of Tag to those principally interested in health and fitness is that burning calories in a collective setting is easier than sticking to an individual regime. Nonetheless, they are playing a non-contact form of RL. It would be remiss not to try to foster a connection to the Tackle game. But it needs to grow organically. I haven`t seen any suggestions the RFL should be trying to sell stuff to Tag players.

I think it will only happen significantly if the community clubs establish League Tag and players choose to migrate back and forth between that and their OzTag franchise. In NSW, Tag players want to be part of and represent a junior RL club.

If UK Tag players prefer to be separate, it might be an idea to find out why. If they feel the "big social side to Tag" doesn`t naturally fit with a community RL club, it could indicate ways the clubs could usefully change.

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