‘It’s disappointing’: Bogut rips into NRL
AUSTRALIAN basketballer Andrew Bogut has ripped into the NRL's controversial changes to rugby league at a junior level in Queensland, which radically alter how children learn the sport.
Under the new rules, tackling will be disallowed until late in the Under-7s program, in the hopes of attracting families who prefer Oztag or Touch over rugby league.
The NRL also plans to remove competitive finals for children until Under-13s.
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Gold Coast Titans hooker Nathan Peats voiced his disgust on Sunday, calling the changes a "joke".
"I feel so strongly against these proposed changes. No tackling until under 8's. If parents didn't want them tackling than they would put their children in oztag it touch. And no finals until under 13's. What a joke," Peats tweeted.
"Just give everyone a trophy. That's just the world we live in."
Bogut agreed with Peats' concerns, posting to Twitter: "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."
Wow @NRL too?— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) February 10, 2020
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🤷♂️ https://t.co/GsmZmz4PhL
Bogut called the proposed changes "disappointing" and discussed the importance of children confronting failure early in their development.
"It's disappointing … the kids are the ones who are going to suffer," Bogut said on Wednesday.
"There's a beauty in winning, there's a beauty in losing.
"There are a lot of life lessons within sport. There's a lot of life lessons whether you win by 50 or lose by 50. But to say that it affects your confidence and whatnot, I don't believe that.
"Whenever we got walloped in juniors it made me work even harder.
"When these kids turn 18 or 19 and go in for a job interview … and they don't get the job, they're not going to get a trophy out of it, so might as well start preparing kids early to learn how to respectfully win and how to respectfully lose.
"That's a big, big part of what sport plays at a junior level."
NRL Head of Football, Participation, Pathways & Development Luke Ellis defended the changes.
"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," Ellis said.
Bogut is a star member of the Sydney Kings, having previously been an NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.
The Kings currently lead the NBL ladder with 19 wins in 27 games. They next face the Illawarra Hawks in a home fixture on Friday evening.