The NSWRL’s open men’s competition – now known as The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup – has been around for 114 years but is about to begin one of its most anticipated seasons.
After the heartache for players, coaches, clubs and fans of not being able to complete the 2020 and 2021 competitions, a new dawn is on the horizon for the NSW Cup in 2022.
All systems are go for The Knock-On Effect’s 12 teams to do battle once more – something that hasn’t happened since July last year.
The worldwide health pandemic COVID-19 forced the cancellation of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup after just one round in 2020 and 14 rounds in 2021.
Alongside the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, they are the two premier competitions of the NSWRL giving players the chance to live out their dream of one day playing at the game’s highest level domestically - the NRL and NRLW.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said he was hoping this year’s The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup competition would finally have some clear water to run its course and crown a Premiership winner.
“The thing that got in our way over the last two seasons was the lockdowns,” Trodden said.
“We can take some comfort now from the fact that governments seemed to have moved beyond lockdowns as a mechanism for controlling COVID.
“That gives us confidence and high expectation that we’ll be able to get through a season uninterrupted.
“Yes, there will be hiccups along the way, but we will deal with those as we have all the bumps that came at us, and society in general, in 2020 and 2021.”
The 2022 season kicks off on Saturday 12 March with 12 teams playing 24 rounds, all vying for the chance to play in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Grand Final on 25 September.
This will be the second year that The Knock-On Effect campaign, which is a road safety initiative of Transport NSW, has been the NSW Cup’s major sponsor.
“We’re proud to have the opportunity of being able to use our signature competition to promote such an important community and social message, as the road safety message,” Trodden said.
“It’s a wonderful way to combine the promotion of our sport with something that is so important to all us – taking the utmost care while driving to try and stop the ripple effect of road trauma.”
Round one match-ups this weekend include St George Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels; Newtown Jets v Canberra Raiders; South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; Penrith Panthers v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles; Western Suburbs Magpies v Mounties; and Newcastle Knights v North Sydney Bears.