With only five days to go until the kickoff of the new National Competition, NZRL Football Manager Tony Kemp is anticipating a competitive new look competition in all three grades, "Having been around the regions with Community camps and Hearts camps it is obvious that the passion and commitment for quality rugby league is at an all time high. There was a lot of competition for places on these teams and everyone has worked hard to prepare."
"The Zones have taken great care to choose coaches, trainers and managers with the qualifications and experience needed to get the best from their teams, the players have gone through a rigorous selection process and attended Heart Camps in their Zones. They completed a Drug and Alcohol workshop with Drug Free Sport, along with presentations about player pathways and nutrition by NZRL Football Department staff. Everyone is well prepared and we are really looking forward to seeing how they all get on."
New Zealand Rugby League formed seven Zones following a review in 2009, and the Northern, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Upper and Lower Central, Wellington and Southern Zones will field teams at all three grades in the new competition.
The Premiers will compete for the Albert Baskerville Trophy; the 17s for the Mark Graham Cup and the 15s will be competing for the Nathan Cayless Cup.
Each team has been selected based on trial performance in their Zone and will feature players from most if not all contributing districts.
The first round kicks off on 29 August when South Island take on Heartland in Christchurch and the Orcas play Waicoa Bay in Wellington.
Full details of the competition, the draw, fixtures and results can be found on the NZRL website www.nzrl.co.nz on the Our Schedule / National Competition page.