Canberra Raiders fullback Anthony Milford was developed into an NRL player by the club but will play for the Broncos next season. Photo: Jay Cronan
Player development is a hot topic in rugby league at the moment. Recent situations involving young players such as James Tedesco and Anthony Milford, where one club spends time and money developing a talented player, only to have this player targeted by a huge-money bid from a rival NRL club, have certainly brought this subject back into the spotlight.
I recently had League Information Services guru David Middleton research the 2014 NRL player lists to see where all our current NRL players first played their junior football. The study proved to be quite interesting.
I suggest the percentage spread shown in this analysis is probably very similar to the mix in lower grades and junior representative player rosters.
Where NRL players come from. Photo: David Middleton
There are so many aspects to the discussion on junior development: Mini and mod-league rules, development pathways through junior competitions, school competitions and junior rep football, talent development, specific areas, player managers, the rising cost of elite kids, salary capping, internal and external drafts, and transfer fees.