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Sydney Roosters back rower Sonny Bill Williams at the launch announcement of a new partnership between the National Rugby League and Touch Football Australia.

The National Rugby League and Touch Football Australia have launched a sporting partnership representing the biggest boost to participation and game development in the history of either sport.

NRL stars Sonny Bill Williams, Anthony Minichiello, Josh Morris, Matt King and Beau Champion joined Australian music sensation Jessica Mauboy and Australian Touch representatives Louise Winchester and Steve Roberts to celebrate the first game of the new era at Allianz Stadium.

The two sports will work together to create the largest sporting community in the country which will reflect the wider support that exists for Rugby League and the games commitment to ensuring there is a place on the field for everyone.

The new agreement will bring more than 1.03 million participants together playing in competitions under a joint NRL-TFA banner. This is in addition to the 844,000 girls and boys who currently take part in NRL Development programs each year.

The partnership will represent the most significant national marketing and participation drive in Australian sport, create a year-round involvement with the Greatest Game of All and help Touch Football Australia raise its profile.

Long-term benefits include:

Greater recreation participation opportunities for all abilities and ages;

Lowering participation and insurance costs;

Co-ordinated pathways programs for elite athletes;

Opportunity for strategic funding of green-space and other sporting facilities;

More opportunities to work with government in the delivery of community and education programs.

Todays signing of the Memorandum of Understanding commits each party to finalise the terms of the partnership which will include discussions with the Australian Sports Commission.

The new agreement with Touch Football Australia is a key strategic step in growing opportunities for Rugby League, NRL Chief Executive, Mr Dave Smith, said today.

Not only will it see more than one million people play in unified competitions, it brings together people from every state and territory, from almost every age group and every demographic.

We have been very clear about our ambition to extend the profile and reach of Rugby League and working with Touch Football Australia will also enable us to pursue new commercial and marketing opportunities that we can leverage with new partners.

Chief Executive of Touch Football Australia, Mr Colm Maguire, said the benefits to Touch Football Australia were significant.

There is a real opportunity to grow the profile of touch both as a recreational game and an elite sport, Mr Maguire said.

Touch Football in Australia was born out of Rugby League and the opportunity to create Australias largest sporting community aligned with the NRL is as compelling as it is ambitious and fortuitous.

Significantly, the partnership enables Touch Football to realise its vision articulated in its strategic plan, to become Australias leading community sport through strategic partnerships.
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