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AIS Rugby League
Rugby league is a tough, fast and physical game requiring a combination of agility, explosive speed and running power, strength in tackling, and good hand–eye coordination for passing. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Rugby League program supports the training and development of talented rugby league players through a national training camp and leading coaching and sports science expertise.
About the program
The AIS Rugby League program was established in 2001 with the Australian Rugby League. It works to provide a pathway for the ongoing training and development of young players in Year 11 and 12 in rural and regional areas of Australia, as an alternative to leaving home to pursue a football career.
Up to 30 players take part in each year’s program. Selection is based on the quality of each player’s performances in schoolboy and club representative football. The program runs a national training camp in Canberra each year, to improve players’ skills in preparation for high performance competition, and organises an international tour of France and the United Kingdom.
In the early years of the AIS Rugby League program we could not select players who lived in the New South Wales junior representative areas, and had some restrictions in Queensland.
In 2004 however, in an agreement with the AIS and QAS, and also with the endorsement of the ARL and QRL, the AIS program effectively became the last year of the QAS Rugby League program in Queensland. This agreement was brokered on the commitment that the AIS/ARL program would offer at least 14 places on a tour to England each year.
These Queensland players would be invited to travel to France and England along with New South Wales and affiliated state players, who have been selected for the tour.
About the sport
Rugby league is played between two teams of 13 players on a rectangular grass field, each trying to gain the greater number of points by scoring ‘tries’ — grounding the ball in the opponents’ in-goal (worth four points) — and then kicking the ball over the opponents’ cross bar (worth two points). A penalty goal counts for two points and a drop goal counts for one point.
The game consists of two 45-minute halves with extra time added on for injury and other stoppages to play. Once play has started any player who is on side can run with the ball, kick it in any direction, or throw or knock it in any direction other than towards the opponents’ dead ball line. Any player holding the ball may be tackled by an opponent.