The Mojo Homes Illawarra Cup gets underway this weekend after the opening two rounds were washed out by the late summer rainstorms that lashed the NSW coast.
The competition will now start with Round Three on Saturday 7 May, with Rounds One and Two moved to other weekends during the season to maintain the integrity of the competition.
It’s exciting times for the Mojo Homes Illawarra Cup, which now truly encompasses the Sutherland Shire-NSW South Coast regions with the addition of three teams to play 14 rounds during the regular season.
The Helensburgh Tigers have returned to the competition, while Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks and De La Salle are the other newcomers, turning the Cup into an eight-team format.
The five existing clubs from 2021 are the Thirroul Butchers, Corrimal Cougars, Western Suburbs Red Devils, Collegians Collie Dogs, and Dapto Canaries.
The Illawarra District Rugby League has a proud history after being established in 1911, and has provided a nursery of juniors for clubs including St George Dragons, Illawarra Steelers, and St George Illawarra Dragons.
Australian and NSW players of the calibre of Paul McGregor, who is now assistant coach with the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues, Brett and Glenn Stewart, Tyson Frizell and Damien Cook all had their Rugby League beginnings in the Illawarra.
Further development of Rugby League in the area comes with the Mojo Homes Illawarra Cup winner to represent the Southern Zone champion in the Presidents Cup to be played in September.
The Presidents Cup is a knockout competition to crown the best team in the state and will also feature the premiers from the Ron Massey Cup (Central Conference), Denton Engineering Cup (Northern Conference) and Peter McDonald Premiership (Western Conference).
De La Salle celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and joining Illawarra’s first grade competition is a fitting way to commemorate their proud history.
The opening round sees De La Salle face the Corrimal Cougars at Captain Cook Oval and Dapto hosting Thirroul at the Dapto Showground with both games to be played at 3pm on Saturday; while Collegians v Cronulla-Caringbah (3pm) and Helensburgh Tigers v Western Suburbs (6pm) will both be played at Collegians Sports Stadium.