The NSWRL is confident Rugby League in Western NSW will be set up for success for “generations to come” after today announcing an exciting new Western Conference system for season 2022 that will provide new opportunities for Group 10 and Group 11 clubs.
At Wade Park, Orange, today NSWRL Director and Group 11 Chair Bob Walsh stood united with his Group 10 counterpart Chair Linore Zamparini for the announcement, which was also supported by NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden, NSWRL Head of Football Robert Lowrie and NSWRL Community Rugby League Manager Peter Clarke.
The new Western Conference system includes:
- A Western Premiership Competition to make up the fourth conference for the Presidents Cup which also includes the winners of the Ron Massey Cup (Central Conference), Denton Engineering Cup (Northern Conference) and Mojo Homes Illawarra Cup (Southern Conference) in a knockout tournament at the end of the season;
- A Western Premiership Competition and a Western Championship Competition;
- Promotion and relegation between the competitions to be decided by a ‘Super Bowl’ playoff at the end of the season between the last-placed Western Premiership team and the Western Championship winners;
- NSWRL to fund bus travel for games requiring more than 150km of travel each way;
- Ongoing consultation with Group 10 and Group 11 clubs about the competition format with a final version to be announced by 15 June 2021.
Group 10 includes clubs from Bathurst, Blayney, Cowra, Lithgow, Mudgee and Orange, while Group 11 includes clubs from Dubbo, Forbes, Narromine, Nyngan, Parkes and Wellington.
Lowrie said the new system was an exciting development for the region and the game, with all stakeholders consulted extensively throughout the process.
“Western NSW has always been a Rugby League nursery for NSW and this is an opportunity to progress it and take it to the next level,” Lowrie said.
“The region has produced plenty of wonderful Rugby League players over the years and the NSWRL is confident this progression in competition structure will further untap that potential.
“It will also further strengthen clubs and competitions in Western NSW and have a positive impact on the game in the region for generations to come.”
Lowrie also emphasised that all Leagues in Western NSW will maintain their identity and governance structures.
“Acknowledging and preserving history of all Leagues in our game is a core value for NSWRL, we won’t be encouraging a merger or amalgamation,” he said.
“It’s about fostering partnerships between traditional Groups. Partnerships like the one that Linore and Bob are leading, a partnership that has created new and exciting competition opportunities for the proud Rugby League communities in Western NSW.”
Zamparini and Walsh welcomed the new competitions plans and said they were looking forward to working together next season to ensure success.
Zamparini said: “We’re in a position where we want to progress our competitions and look at structures which are more sustainable.
“We’re confident with the assistance of Group 11 we can present structures which are catering for communities right across Group 10 and Group 11.”
Walsh said: “This move has the unanimous support of the Group 11 Board and we’re very excited about what this offers our community and all communities.
“We’re looking forward to working with Group 10 and their communities in the best interests of Rugby League.”