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Andrew Johns “touch footy is valuable”

I tell kids I coach these days who want to be aspiring halfbacks to learn their trade in touch football.

I’ve been quite vocal about weight divisions in juniors and kids footy, and the number of parents coming up to me is extraordinary.

Why do you play sport? You want it to be fun, but the big one is it’s got to be safe.

Nathan Cleary did a fascinating story a few years ago where he said when he was growing up in New Zealand he wouldn’t have played if they didn’t have weight divisions. We want to expand the game at the top, but there are fewer kids playing at grassroots.

Look around the NRL and there’s a real lack of halfbacks. They’re not exactly growing off trees. It’s hard for the kids to learn their trade – and that can start as young as six, seven, or eight years of age when you’re learning how to step, how to pass and how far to go to the line – and these poor kids are terrified of getting smashed.

That’s where touch football can be so valuable. We’ve seen the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Shaun Johnson, Matt Moylan, and even Benji Marshall have a grounding in touch football.

It’s a conversation we need to have – and we need to have it soon.

CREDIT: –  By Andrew Johns for the Sydney Morning Herald August 4 2022

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