Ethan Roberts, 13 stands over the top of Tristan Ellison, 13 - who is 25 days older than him - they both play in the same rugby league team.
Ethan Roberts, 13 stands over the top of Tristan Ellison, 13 - who is 25 days older than him - they both play in the same rugby league team. Adam Hourigan/Daily Examiner

Does size matter?

GLENDA Roberts’ 172cm, 82kg offspring is tipping the scales in his favour in rugby league’s weight debate.

South Grafton’s Ethan is 13 but has the physical frame to match it on the field with 16-year-olds.

While Glenda supports the introduction of weight divisions, she urges caution must be applied.

She says her son does not have the mentality of someone three years his senior and should be protected when it comes to any changes.

“Weight divisions are something that has to be looked at,” she said.

“You can have weight divisions up to under-13s but from there on I think .

“My son is probably an equivalent size to a 15 or 16-year-old but he does not have the mental ability to play at that level.

“You have got people who have got a lot more aggression. My son is not a fighter.

“But to put my son against kids much older would be unfair on him.”

Ethan is more than 30cm taller than cousin Tristan Roberts, who is 25 days his senior, but the duo play alongside one another for the South Grafton Rebels.

Using his frame, Ethan scores ‘four or five’ tries a game.

But his ‘very gentle’ nature means he gets out-muscled by his older rivals.

“If he’s up against a smaller player he just grabs them,” Glenda said.

“If someone wanted to pick a fight with my son he would just walk away.”

“It’s obviously much safer for a child to play against someone their own size.”

Glenda admits her son is often pulled up on his size by opposition coaches.

But big men are part and parcel of rugby league and are just as protected as the game’s little stars.

“He’s had a growth spurt and most people believe he is not 13,” she says of Ethan.

“He has been questioned about his age many times.

“What we should be doing is encouraging our bigger kids.

“Some people take it very seriously. We want them to develop their skills but at the end of the day we want them to have fun.”

“I do support it but only up to a certain age.”

Ethan’s brothers – Blake, 10, and Tate, 7 – both play for the Rebels and are large for their age.



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