Bogut hits out at NRL grassroots changes

Boomers star Andrew Bogut says children will be the ones to suffer if the NRL's proposed changes to grassroots football come into effect.

ANDREW BOGUT #66 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses during media day in El Segundo, California.
ANDREW BOGUT #66 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses during media day in El Segundo, California. Picture: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Australian basketballer Andrew Bogut has hit out at the NRL's proposed changes to grassroots football.

The NRL has motivated changes including a ban on tackling until under-eight level, and the eradication of finals until the under-13 age group.

Boomers star Bogut, who has also criticised the AFL's scoring ban for juniors, says there is beauty in both winning and losing.

"Wow NRL too?" Bogut wrote on Twitter when he learned of the proposed changes.

"I might just start a rogue junior league for all junior sports in the near future.

"Scores are kept all season, winners playoff in finals games and the winner gets a trophy. The losing teams have work to do before next season. Call me crazy but I think it could work."

Bogut elaborated on his comments in an interview with Wide World of Sports Radio, highlighting the importance of teaching children to win and lose respectfully at a young age.

"It's (the proposed changes) disappointing," he said.

"I think some people say it's mainly aimed towards the parents, but the kids are the ones that are going to suffer.

"There's a beauty in winning and there's a beauty in losing.

"In losing, (you learn) the harsh reality of what you need to improve on instantly and winning can also get people comfortable to where they don't win again.

"So there's a lot of life lessons within sport. There's life lessons whether you win by 50 or lose by 50, but to say that it affects your confidence and what not, I don't believe that."

Gold Coast hooker Nathan Peats also took to Twitter to criticise the proposed changes.

"I feel so strongly against these proposed changes. No tackling until under 8's. If parents didn't want them tackling then they would put their children in oztag. And no finals until under 13's. What a joke.

"Just give everyone a trophy. That's just the world we live in."

NRL Head of Football, Participation, Pathways & Development Luke Ellis defended the changes in an interview on Tuesday.

"We understand that tackling ... is a barrier to entry to participants," he told 2GB.

"The strategy is about getting more people into the game ... and have a slower introduction of tackling across a period of time.

"We want them to stay ... across all sports participants are dropping out of the game and research is suggesting that an overly competitive environment is causing that."


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