The NRL has hit back at reports it failed to support Queensland grassroots clubs rocked by the suicide of young players.
The game’s governing body said on Saturday it had provided assistance to two Gold Coast clubs devastated by three players taking their lives over the past five years.
Tugun Seahawks president Rod Hill told News Corp the NRL “haven’t done anything” to help the club after the death of three young players.
Hill told the Gold Coast Bulletin the club was forced to deal with the issue alone and denied a request for a welfare officer to visit each week to check on players.
However an NRL spokesman denied the claims, saying welfare staff visited the Tugun club, as well as the Runaway Bay and Burleigh clubs which had been affected by the suicide of players, and counselling had been offered.
“The NRL and QRL had provided and funded assistance and counselling to clubs hit by tragedies,” the NRL said in a statement.
“As publicly announced in May this year, the NRL will join with the Queensland government to reach more than 200 junior rugby league clubs throughout Queensland over the next three years.
“Outreach and programs will help clubs and members to provide mental health training and ongoing assistance and awareness amongst local communities.”
The issue of pressure applied to young players has come into focus over the last several years following a spate of suicides including several players signed with NRL clubs.
It prompted the NRL to launch the State of Mind program aimed at reducing the stigma about and addressing mental health issues.
* For support and information about suicide prevention, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.