ARL launches player register

The Australian Rugby League has launched the game's first official Australian Players Register which embraces the game's greatest ever names and it youngest hopefuls.

The official player register gives every player to have represented Australia a playing number and a certificate to formally recognise their place in the game's history.

The numbering system will also carry down to the game's grass roots with the Australian Rugby League Foundation awarding each of the game's 250,000 participants with an identity number that will recognize their place in the game.

In launching the initiative today the Australian Rugby League presented Kangaroo skipper, Darren Lockyer, with a jumper embroidered with his Australian playing number, 661.

"Historians Terry Williams from the NSWRL and David Middleton are researching the game's history to compile the full register," ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, said today.

"Already David and Terry have added 10 players from a 1909 series between Australia and the Maoris that were previously unrecognized in most history books.

"We know that Arthur Hennessy, the first Kangaroo captain comes in at number one but it's an enormous task to place everyone in their correct order of appearance from there.

"David and Terry are confident that Darren's place has been established accurately but establishing just who ran on in what order from 1908 will take a little time.

"Separate lists will also be maintained for Super League Tests, the game's 1907 Pioneers who represented NSW against New Zealand in the first ever game on Australian soil and a small band of individuals who were selected to play for Australia but who never actually took the field.

"The first 2000 playing numbers will be reserved for Australian representatives but every child who plays the game will also be part of a Rugby League register via the ARL Identity number. From their junior team to the NRL, they will retain the same number.

"It's an important way of recognizing that from Kids to Kangaroos, everyone has a place in the game of Rugby League," Mr Carr said.

"The registration system will allow players to track their progression through the sport from club to club and to maintain their own career playing record."