Canterbury Rugby Leagues New Relationship A Game-Changer

An exciting era for Canterbury Rugby League has begun at Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub, building a new relationship with the NRL’s Canterbury Bulldogs, potentially unlocking coaching capabilities and unearthing our region’s next superstars.

Coaching representatives from Australia’s NRL Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, recently spent five days in Christchurch, conducting clinics to upskill more than 40 coaches across various levels, plus two days of training sessions developing the skills of young, local talent between the ages of 15 and 18.

Chief Executive Officer of Canterbury Rugby League, Malcolm Humm describes this partnership as a breakthrough, emphasising its potential to be a pathway for young grassroots talent aiming for the NRL.

“We’ve got a non-financial partnership here that is a game-changer for our talent and our coaches.”

“In addition to providing opportunities for the next big star to be found, it guarantees that they receive top coaching before they're ready to transition at the right age.”

Katrina Mansfield, Sport Canterbury’s Partnership and Activation Manager at Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub enjoyed the rugby league buzz felt around the facility.

“Offering the chance to 300 rangatahi of all skill levels to come down for two days for elite coaching to has been fantastic.”

“Not only could this be a chance for some to get noticed but you could see how much fun they all had.”

During their stay in Christchurch, the Bulldogs visited St Thomas of Canterbury College, current recent NZRL Secondary Schools Tournament champions and school of former student and current NRL Brisbane Broncos star, Jordan Riki.

The team also took the time to conduct coaching and player development clinics in Greymouth – a region known for unearthing great talent.

This new pathways collaboration between CRL and the Bulldogs is an exciting moment for the region, combining a shared commitment to creating opportunities and developing the rugby league talent that Canterbury pocesses.