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NRL’s Dave Smith praises rugby league at NSWRL Conference

NRL’s Dave Smith praises rugby league at NSWRL Conference
November 13, 2014

National Rugby League Chief Executive Dave Smith has paid tribute to rugby league's volunteers and stated his belief the code can become 'Australia's largest sporting community'.

Addressing day one of the New South Wales Rugby League's annual conference at Navarra Venues' Le Montage at Lilyfield, Smith also commended coach Laurie Daley and NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden for initiating a cultural shift that saw the NSW Blues reclaim the State Of Origin crown in 2014.

Smith, who is also Chief Executive of the Australian Rugby League Commission, explained "we've got to grow the game and become more inclusive and you play a big part in that because, when you bring that shield back to NSW, the momentum that creates in terms of the bigger part of the game is phenomenal.

"Everyone wants to be engaged, everyone wants to run around and kick the footy and look like Laurie.

"I think if you look at what Laurie did this year in terms of his cultural shift and what 'Trodders' is trying to do this year with the professionalism there as well – all of that cuts to our reputation and I want to feel proud of this game because I know with pride comes all of that care that you show day in, day out.

"No sport ever went wrong if it had strong participation and stringy grassroots and we are very committed to that."

Smith treated delegates to an insider’s view of his vision for rugby league at all levels, emphasising revenue growth, television rights and ratings, social media and plans for improved stadiums and facilities.

State of Origin II, where the Blues reclaimed the series crown, went into the record books as the most-watched game of rugby league in history.

The game also made a significant impression on social media with two billion impressions on Twitter.

The NRL recently invested $50 million in a fund to safeguard the future of the code.

Representatives from NSW Cup, Ron Massey Cup, Sydney Shield and junior leagues are among those attending the conference.

Laurie Daley also shared some of the secrets to the success of his State of Origin side on the opening day of the conference.

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