Club Equal Time Policy
1.1. Why Have Equal Time
It is fundamental to the Hornsby culture that every player deserves, and will receive, a fair go. This includes equal time on the paddock across all age groups. We are very proud to have had this policy from the club’s restart in the late 90s and have still had many teams in the finals and indeed grand finals. Winning is great but participation and fun are equally important.
1.2. Why Have a Policy
The way that the policy is implemented may vary across age groups and from coach to coach. This document is designed to clarify these variations so that parents have a clear understanding of the policy and the various ways that coaches may implement it.
It is important that the rules are known to everyone and that there is total transparency. This policy is available to everyone in the club and shall be followed by all club officials involved.
The important thing for parents to remember is that the equality of time is over the whole season, not just any one game.
2.2. Non-competitive Age Groups
In Walla rugby (U6s and U7s), most coaches will roster the players on and off and each player will receive equal time on the day.
In Minis (U8s and U9s) coaches should wait until a stoppage in play to rotate players but this is not strictly enforced and so generally players will receive equal time on the day.
Note that this flexibility in Walla and Mini comes largely from the fact that there are no positional dependencies to consider - either there are no scrums or line-outs or they are non-contested.
2.3. Competitive Age Groups (U10+)
2.3.1. Rounds 1 - 14
In Juniors (U10s and up), things get a little more difficult for the coaches and so it is important to remember that your child probably won’t receive equal time on a per-game basis but should still receive equal time over the season.
In juniors, most coaches will roster players into quarter or half game shifts over a 3 or 4 week cycle. However, there are a number of factors that can affect actual playing time:
- If players don’t show up or players are injured during a match.
- At this level, interchanges cannot be made at any time, only at a stoppage. This is enforced by the referees (and rightly so) and therefore your child may be due to go on but until there is a scrum, lineout or try, the coach cannot put them into the game.
- Your child will get equal time up to their fitness level. Some players, particularly at the start of the season, cannot go more than 5 or 10 minutes every 20 or 30 minutes. The coach will do their best to make up any shortfalls but every player has an equal reasonability to develop their fitness.
- While there would never be any hesitation to call for uncontested scrums if necessary, each team also has a responsibility to provide experienced front rowers. In fact, the Competition Rules call for set ratios of front rowers for a given squad size (eg: 6 for a squad of 23). Therefore, if a squad only has three or four front rowers, then these players will receive more game time merely because we as a club are bound to meet the requirements of the competition in relation to experienced front rowers and contested scrums.
- Newer players will often be played in the forwards. This is not so much because of their build but because they are then surrounded by 7 mates who can help them out. Playing newer players in the backs where every dropped ball or off target pass is very much in the spot light generally leads to embarrassment (warranted or not) and loss of confidence. Given the finite number of forwards positions available, this consideration may lead to unequal time, particularly in the early part of the season.
- Since the time is over the whole season, coaches may elect to alter time played dependent on the opposition. So stronger players may get the majority of game time against stronger opposition but they then should also receive less game time against less challenging opposition. A benefit of this is that the less experienced players receive more game time in a less overwhelming environment, allowing them to build their skills confidently.
2.3.2. Final Series
In the finals series, the policy is relaxed in that coaches need not provide equal time. However, every child who shows up to play will receive at least one quarter of a game. Remember that winning a final means more game time for everybody.
2.4. Apparent Non-compliance
If you think that your child is not getting equal time, talk to the manager in the first instance. In most age groups, the manager will be tracking time played for each player and should be able to clear up any misunderstandings.
If you are still unhappy or believe things are not improving, then talk to the coach. If after talking to the coach and manager you still have concerns, please contact the Coaching Coordinator. He will investigate and report back to you. If you are not happy with the report, then contact the Vice President who will raise the matter at the Executive level.