There’s a reason why Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues advisor Greg Alexander believes The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup for the 2022 season will be one of the most significant to date.
It’s not just the obvious conclusion that everything points to the 2022 competition running its course for the first time in three years without any COVID-19 disruptions - unlike 2020 and 2021.
However, the lingering effects of the pandemic will place greater emphasis on players from The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup being able to step up into their NRL sides to complete team lists.
“We just don’t know how disrupted the NRL will be this season,” Alexander told nswrl.com.au.
“We saw some Canberra players having to pull out of pre-season trials because of (COVID) positive tests. So, no-one knows how far down an NRL list will need to go.
“I’m sure clubs have got their top 30 (players) pretty well settled but I think we’ll be digging deeper so The Knock-On Effect will be very important in terms of providing players to the NRL this year.”
In 2021, there were 52 players from The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup that moved up to the NRL.
Alexander said the emphasis on keeping the NRL going during COVID has meant the next generation of players has been out of the spotlight.
“We tend to focus on the NRL and praising the fact we’ve been able to get two years of competition even if the teams have had to move around,” Alexander said.
“But the forgotten ones over the past couple of years have been the younger players, or the players in the grade below the NRL which is The Knock-On Effect.
“The other competitions that were cancelled made it very difficult for them to have much footy over the last two seasons so it’s terrific that it’ll be up and running shortly.”
Already the NRL trial games are whetting the appetite of what the Knock-On Effect Cup will produce.
“We’ve seen over the trial games that there’s a lot of players the fans wouldn’t recognise because of the cancellation of the competitions under the NRL,” Alexander said.
“It’s terrific to see them back on the field. We’re seeing already during the trials that there’s plenty of talent in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.
“We’re seeing NRL coaches recognise those players and put them into first grade to see if they’re good enough to be called upon during the season.”
Alexander has been a vocal supporter of The Knock-On Effect campaign, which is a road safety initiative driven by Transport for NSW for the NSW Government.
“Freddy (Origin coach Brad Fittler) and I have been around to a lot of schools – mainly in the country areas – and everyone needs to be very careful what they do behind the wheel,” Alexander said.
“I’ve spoken to many kids on their Ls or have just received their Ps. They need to really think about what they’re doing… distractions in cars, drink-driving, speed.
“These things can so easily cost you your life. And it’s not just your life – it’s how it affects your family, your friends, their families, whole clubs and communities especially in country areas where everyone knows each other.
“It’s all about the impact on many, many lives that a road accident can have.
“That’s why I think it’s a great sponsorship because the message is so necessary to get out there.”