The NSW Rugby League has confirmed it will run a 10-team NSW Cup competition in 2021 in line with the NRL with the Sharks partner club the Newtown Jets looking to defend the title won in 2019.
Due to the issues surrounding COVID, the NSWRL Canterbury Cup was cancelled in 2020, with the Jets the last club to claim the premier NSWRL competition, as well as the State Championship match against the Burleigh Bears which followed.
The Jets won both the NSW Canterbury Cup Grand Final and the State Championship match in spectacular fashion, last minute tries sealing victory on both occasions.
In continuing their successful partnership, the Sharks will again provide players to the Jets from their top 30 squad not required for the NRL on a particular weekend, as well as players from their Development squad list.
In announcing the return of the NSW Cup, NSWRL Head of Football Robert Lowrie said the full home and away second tier competition will kick-off the same weekend as the NRL.
“We are really thrilled to be able to announce that our premier competition will go ahead after the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to cancel it this year,” Lowrie said.
“The competition provides an important pathway to the NRL. Many open age competitions operated in New South Wales during season 2020. Much was learnt about COVID-19 protocols and confidence was gained about the capacity to safely conduct competitions in a COVID-safe way.
“We are therefore very confident of our ability to deliver all of our competitions safely and efficiently during the 2021 season. Additionally, we are working with an NRL representative from the Apollo Committee to construct bio-security protocols to mitigate risk and to enable player movement between the NRL and NSW Cup.”
At the NSWRL season launch on March 3 next year they expect to be able to announce a new naming rights partner for their premier competition.