ON THE BRINK: Eidsvold have been a mainstay of the Central Burnett but endured a torrid 2018 season. The Eagles had nine players for their elimination final.
ON THE BRINK: Eidsvold have been a mainstay of the Central Burnett but endured a torrid 2018 season. The Eagles had nine players for their elimination final. Mackenzie Colahan

Is rugby league in the bush on borrowed time?

RUGBY LEAGUE: In July, the Central & North Burnett Times reported that rugby league in the region is in dire straits.

The sport faces an uncertain future.

Unless something drastic changes, the Central Burnett Rugby League will not go ahead in 2019.

But we're not alone.

THE PROBLEM: State of the League

INTRODUCTION: The Decline

PART ONE: Mal Meninga Weighs In

PART TWO: Gavin Ford's Sacrifice

PART THREE: Richard Dugdale's Herculean Task

PART FOUR: Short End of the Stick

The decline of bush footy and grassroots participation in rugby league is well-documented.

Ask anyone and they will tell you country competitions are a shell of their former self.

The game's governing bodies, the QRL and NRL, would have you believe the game is in good health.

The truth is their participation numbers are embellished by the growth of the women's game, touch football and metropolitan areas.

Last year in Queensland, while male players from Under 10s to 12s increased by 2.65 percent, participation in the crucial Under 13s to 18s segment dropped by 4.1 per cent.

According to a 2016 Australian Sports Commission report, rugby league is the 11th most popular activity for Australian kids.

There were 126,754 registered participants, just 5000 more than karate (12th place) and significantly less than AFL's 366,462 juniors (3rd place).

Combined club figures for adults and juniors don't read much better - 247,883 in rugby league compared to AFL's 635,627.

Touch football had 271,628, a figure regularly used to boost rugby league's participation.

Not even the champion Gayndah Gladiators were immune from player shortages this year.
Not even the champion Gayndah Gladiators were immune from player shortages this year. Mackenzie Colahan

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg was interviewed on Fox League last week.

When asked what he believed was the biggest threat to the sport, there was no hesitation.

"Grassroots participation and long-term sustainability.”

The problem is obvious, the solution is not.

This series will take an in-depth look at rugby league in the North Burnett and across country Queensland.

We speak to the people at the coal face - the legends, players, coaches, volunteers and administrators - to find out what has gone wrong and what needs to be done to save our game.


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Patient suffered hip injuries, transported in stable condition.

Club prepares for October races

Club prepares for October races

Eidsvold Race Club is getting ready for its upcoming race weekend.