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NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden has delivered an Easter message of hope to the Rugby League community after confirming the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues will get an opportunity to defend the State of Origin Shield in 2020 and other competitions are also expected to go ahead.

Trodden reached out to everyone connected with the game across NSW after the difficult decision was made to cancel nine NSWRL competitions, including Canterbury Cup NSW and Junior Representative matches, due to the coronavirus pandemic that has had a devastating impact across the globe.

The NRL also suspended their competition but has now formed Project Apollo to look at all options for the game, which would include an Origin series, to resume with May, June or July emerging as the most likely possibilities.

“No matter what else happens during the course of the year there will be Origin so we will get a chance to retain that trophy that we have fought so hard to win over the past two seasons,” Trodden said.

“Freddy and his team have been meeting (via video) on a weekly basis to continue their plans for the 2020 State of Origin series and so that’s something that all of us in NSWRL are looking forward to.”

The NSWRL is still hopeful of rescheduling the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield, and is also optimistic that community football, which involves grassroots players from Under 6s to Open Age, could also resume in some capacity. 

“We have had some really positive news over the last week or so with the number of additional coronavirus cases registered in NSW, you’d be aware that those numbers are decreasing on a daily basis,” Trodden said.

“That gives us some real confidence that we’ll be able to get competitions going again in some form during the course of this season.

“I meet at least on a weekly basis with all of the state sporting organisations in NSW, and certainly all of the winter sports are looking to agree on a single date to recommence all sport in NSW. They all share the optimism that we have about getting sport happening in NSW in the very near future.”

Trodden also wished all Australians a safe and happy Easter holiday, and reminded them to respect the advice from governments and health officials for COVID-19 in order to get life back on track as quickly as possible.

“To everybody who has a role to play in our game in NSW, whether you’re a player, whether you’re a coach, whether you’re an administrator, whether you’re a volunteer of any other sort, no matter how you’re involved in our game thank you for what you do for our game,” he said.

“Make sure you enjoy a really safe, really happy and really restful Easter and I look forward to being able to bring you some really exciting news about our competitions in the weeks following the Easter period.”