NRL RISE Rugby League Development Program

School of Education and Professional Studies academic, Dr Wayne Usher, has been involved with the delivery of the RISE Rugby League Development Program.

The RISE Program provides aspirational Junior Rugby League players aged Under 13 – Under 15 years with an avenue to obtain specialised training and education through a holistic Rugby League development experience.

The program is made up of five sessions and is based in the following locations in 2019: Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga and Toowoomba.

Griffith University is proud of its continual involvement in the program. The RISE program is developing into a nationwide initiative, to improve the sporting performance, participation rates and personal wellbeing of young NRL players. Initial pilot testing of the Life Fit Program has indicated significantly positive results associated with improving resilience and grit and its ability to educate participant’s knowledge base concerning anxiety and depression.

Dr Usher is in communication with the NRL Player Development team to further discuss how the RISE program could potentially be offered as a Griffith Credential – digital badge for all NRL junior grassroots coaches and interested third parties (PE teachers, parents).

Further paid collaborative research work, between Dr Wayne Usher and the NRL, has commenced in 2019, with a study designed to evaluate the reach and impact of the 2019 NRL Junior Player Development Framework. A number of these initiatives were based off Dr Usher’s research findings and recommendations throughout 2016 – 18 and have been implemented throughout 2019 into 5 National testing sites. The evaluation study will look closer a the below 7 initiatives, with an aim to inform future strategy formation and implementation and NRL’s governing body:

  • League Tag Competitions
  • RISE Development Program
  • 18 Month Registration Window
  • Community League Interpretations
  • Development Competitions
  • TackleSafe Program
  • Restricted Weight Competitions

Applications are open to all players who meet the following criteria:

  • Born between 1st January 2004 and 31st December 2006.
  • Currently registered to a Junior Rugby League Club.
  • Have been a Junior Rugby League player for a minimum of two seasons.
  • Have an aspiration in the game of Rugby League.
  • Not currently part of any other academy or development program.
  • Willing to work hard and commit to the entire program, and live by the RISE philosophy of Respect, Inspiration, Selflessness and Excellence.

To find out more, and to apply go to

/University Release. View in full here.