The NSWRL has released the full draw for the upcoming Sydney Shield season, to be played across 20 rounds in 2018.
With the season to kick off on 7 April - a month later than previous years - a closer, more exciting competition is expected. Mounties and the Western Suburbs Magpies depart from the 2017 season, with Brothers Penrith included for the first time and 11 teams taking part. One team will have a bye almost every week in 2018, with only Round 16 featuring three byes across the weekend.
The Sydney Shield is the NSWRL's fourth-tier men's competition, feeding into the Ron Massey Cup for both emerging and senior players.
Since 2012, the competition has produced a high standard of Rugby League across the Sydney Metropolitan region, with several large and proud clubs featuring including St Marys, Mounties, the Wentworthville Magpies and the Western Suburbs Magpies. Season 2017 saw St Marys take out the title, defeating Mounties 34-20 at Leichhardt Oval for their first piece of silverware in the competition.
As the competition goes from strength to strength, it continues to provide a platform for both young emerging stars and seasoned veterans.