COUNTRY rugby league clubs have been proven to be the lifeblood of the NRL.
University of Sydney research of professional rugby league players showed those who began playing in regional areas are overrepresented in the top league.
Researcher Dr Stephen Cobley examined the ages and first clubs of NRL players between 1998 and 2010 and discovered that size does matter - at least when it comes to the population of the town in which their first team is based.
While just 8% of people live in towns with less than 10,000 people, the research showed 16% of NRL players come from clubs in those towns.
In contrast more than 21% of Australians live in a city of more than 1,000,000, only 6.57% of NRL players started with junior clubs in those cities. - APN NEWSDESK