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  • Writer's pictureCronulla Sutherland Referees

Crackdown on swearing among junior rugby league players

Updated: Mar 20

Crackdown on swearing among junior rugby league players. Children as young as six will be subject to the new rules. Cronulla Junior Rugby League has enforced new rules which will result in players being sent off for swearing or using offensive language.

Players as young as six will be answerable to the new rules, which have been backed by the NRL.

Cronulla Junior Rugby League general manager Chris Bannerman said the change was needed.

“We have noticed an increase in general swearing and offensive language coming from participants on field, which is not consistent with the values of the game and what we want to see at our local venues,” he said.

“So we’ve put in place some steps to counteract that and make our participants have a think about their actions and what they’re doing on the field to create a more inclusive and comfortable environment for the people who are at our matches.

“I think it’s probably frustration sometimes, but kids are probably challenged a little bit with all the digital content they see these days and we are normalising swearing and offensive language to some extent.

“I understand it is a challenge for these kids, but putting these measures in place makes people stop and think about exactly what they’re doing and if we can create a more comfortable environment for grandparents and female participants that we have got in the district, it will create a better match-day experience for everyone that is associated with the junior league.”

A Facebook post by the club last week announced the changes.

“All teams and players should note that as of Round 12, match officials will be supported in taking action against offensive language from players during fixtures across all NSWRL Conference and CJRL competitions,” it reads.

“Offending players and teams may be penalised where swearing or offensive language is evident.

“This pro-active stance on offensive language will be consistent for the remainder of the 2023 season, including finals.

“The image of the game and the welcoming nature of our match-day venues needs to be protected. The support of all clubs and team officials is vital in ensuring the behaviour of teams requires minimal action by match officials.”

One parent commented on the post with relief, saying “Fantastic! About time! My 10-year-old girl has been exposed to disgusting language in (the) last couple of weeks.”

Broncos fullback Reece Walsh was handed a three-game ban after swearing at referee Chris Butler last month, sparking concern that the issue spans across all levels of the game.

Psychologist Amanda Abel told Sunrise that it was “a boundaries issue.”

“It is a concern ... it comes down to knowing what is right and when and where. There is a time and a place for it.

“Kids are just so much more exposed now than 20 or 30 years ago because of this online exposure that they have, so there is that normalising, that acceptance of swearing, and it is making it seem more appropriate to kids.”

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