The bottom line is that league has a problem at the junior level. It has to do with negative perceptions and the fact that mothers now have input into what sport boys play, it has to do with culture (and the NRL players have something to answer for here) and it also involves the promotion abilities of varopis codes. League still has the media input (print and radio especially) but more can be done. SuperLeague has a lot to answer for. The other issue is the collapse of Public School sport.
I grew up in Tamworth and there were over 50 teams in the school comp in the late 70s/80s. In each age group at my school there were 2 to 3 teams that were coached by teachers at the weekend. We had a school culture that put school footy ahead of club and this school still holds the record for winning the Uni Shield (state Knockout)
Go there now and there is no school team except to play in the knockout where they lost to my old enemy school this year by 74 -1. The local comp is club based and there is hardly any teams, though the local boarding public school remains strong but with no competition. Soccer involvement is about the same but many other sports have caught up.
There was no junior rugby at all in those days and I played in the first game of Aussie Rules in the town. Not to mention hockey which is huge in this town and has several current Kookaburras.
There are numerous reasons for the drop off and my big point is that somebody needs to get off their butt and start doing something before noone is left.
That is why News needs to get out. Running a successful TV company and promoting the game to a wide range of people is not mutually exclusive!!! Not profit before exposure!!!