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The NSWRL has been thrilled by the positive response across the state for the re-start of the 2020 Rugby League season with most districts and groups committing to playing junior, senior and Blues Tag competitions, and more than 90 per cent of clubs successfully completing their COVID-19 safety training.

Plans are also well underway for the return of the NSWRL’s senior competitions including the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, the Sydney Shield and a President’s Cup, which will see a blend of teams from Sydney and Newcastle, with an expected start date of 18 July.

The NSWRL’s multicultural program, Try League, for children aged 4-9 years from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities (CALD) is also set to return next month with three eight-week programs  at Fairfield (from 22 July), Glenwood (23 July) and Bexley (24 July).

The NSWRL was forced to cancel a number of its 13 competitions because of the coronavirus crisis but the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership is still able to go ahead and will provide players with a premier competition to train for and play in before the women’s Origin match in November.

“I understand that 2020 has been a challenging season for everyone across the state but I’m thrilled to see the clubs who have committed to playing,” NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said.

“The COVID-19 Return to Play protocols are straightforward and easy to follow but most importantly have been designed to ensure the safety of all our players, officials and volunteers, and the wider community.

“We made the decision this year not to close off registrations to give everyone an opportunity to get back on the field and enjoy Rugby League again and I can’t wait for the season to commence.

“The NSWRL takes pride in every aspect of our business and I’m also looking forward to the return of our senior competitions including the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership.”

The NSW Government recently moved to allow community football for children in competitions up to and including Under 18 comps and senior football to resume from 1 July after they were suspended over the coronavirus pandemic.

The NSWRL has worked tirelessly with government and health authorities behind the scenes on ‘Return to Play’ protocols that would enable groups and districts to resume training, competitions and programs in a safe, responsible and low risk manner to combat any threat of COVID-19.

The NSWRL has already announced competitions across the state can resume from 18 July and also struck an agreement with other major State Sporting Organisations that winter competitions would end no later than 11 October. This has led to revised competition formats across the state.

The Sydney metropolitan area has seen all 11 Junior Districts and 10 Senior Districts commit to playing, while another nine Districts have committed to Blues Tag competitions.

The response has been just as positive across regional NSW with 15 Junior Groups committed to playing and another three likely to play, while 13 Senior Groups will also hold competitions.