Nice touch boosts both codes

TOUCH football has unearthed some of the biggest names in the NRL.

Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall represented Australia at touch footy, while Warriors halfback and Panthers fullback Matt Moylan were outstanding junior players.

The codes yesterday launched a sporting partnership that officials said represented the biggest boost to participation and game development in the history of either sport.

The agreement will bring more than 1.03 million participants together, playing in competitions under a joint NRL-Touch Football Australia banner. That is in addition to the 844,000 girls and boys who take part in NRL development programs each year.

Benefits are expected to include lower participation and insurance costs, co-ordinated pathway programs for elite athletes and the opportunity to secure funding for green space and other sporting facilities.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said working with TFA would help the NRL pursue new commercial and marketing opportunities.

And the chief executive of TFA, Colm Maguire, said the partnership would provide, "a real opportunity to grow the profile of touch, both as a recreational game and an elite sport".