St.Helens v Salford City Reds
ST.HELENS, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 9: A generic Rugby League ball during the engage Super League match between St.Helens and Salford City Reds at Knowsley Road on April 9, 2007 in St.Helens, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

A recent report by the ABC suggests NRL players are far less likely to support climate change actions than their counterparts in the AFL.

The Cool Down is an initiative designed to raise awareness regarding climate issues.

The planet's climate has been a topic of hot debate for a number of years now as the problem of global warming and rising sea levels are grappled with.

While political summits have seen emissions targets put in place, awareness is still being raised among the general population, and The Cool Down has a serious drive to do it via sports.

The website states "the climate crisis and Australia's intensifying extreme weather is threatening the sports and country we love."

"We’ve seen Australia’s extreme weather become even more extreme. Outrageous temperatures at the Australian Open have forced early retirements and bushfire smoke has seen training and matches cancelled for safety. But it’s our local clubs that are most feeling the heat.

"Dramatically rising insurance premiums to protect against expanding fire and flood risk are eating into budgets and prolonged droughts are seeing grounds become unusable and, in some cases, entire seasons being cancelled.

"Sport’s future is more uncertain than ever, but its power has never been more important."

Incredibly though, of other 400 Austrlaian sportspeople to have added their name as supporters to the list, only 14 have signed up from rugby league and the NRL. They are Angus Crichton, Ben Creagh, Cameron Murray, Chris Heighington, Rugby League Players Association president Clint Newton, Ian Roberts, Mitch Rein, Morgan Smith, Nathan Cleary, Reece Walsh, Paul Dunn, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Sam McIntyre and former Gold Coast Titans and Wests Tigers legend Scott Prince.

This is compared to more than 180 from AFL, more than 70 from football (soccer) and another more than 50 from the sport of rugby union. The only major sport in Australia with a similar level of tardiness from players to sign up is cricket, who have just 13.

While the ABC report suggests Victoria (where most AFL players come from) is a more progressive state than others, that doesn't help to explain why no Melbourne Storm-based players have been added to the supporters list.

RLPA president Clint Newtown argued that the numbers don't mean rugby league players aren't interested.

"I think the lower numbers are not a reflection of the players' passion towards keeping our world, and particularly Australia, in a position where we're not going to be significantly affected by climate change," he told the ABC.

"It's more about the timing of certain things — we've pushed out some communication to players and we've had some take up, but obviously the AFL and rugby union have been at this for several months now and so they've got a bit of a head start."