The final plank in the restructure of the New South Wales Rugby League will be put into place this weekend when the NSWRL Premier League gets underway.
Previously known as the NSWRL First Division, the Premier League will include 15 teams with six of the games foundation clubs from 1908 represented. This maintains the association these clubs and the NSWRL has with the birth of rugby league in Australia, a fact that becomes increasingly significant as we move closer and closer to the game?s centenary.
?Many of these clubs have a rich tradition which we celebrate in the Premier League. We also believe that all 15 of them have an exciting future in front of them and the NSWRL Premier League will be a part of that for years to come,? said NSWRL General Manager Mr Chris Turner.
Mr Turner also outlined the reasons behind the NSWRL revamp. ?We conducted a long and exhaustive consultation process with all stakeholders and many people felt that there were changes needed to the support structures beneath the NRL in this state. The changes to the junior representative competitions and the establishment of the Jim Beam Cup have been strategies that respond to those needs.?
?The Premier League, as the flagship competition of the NSWRL, will continue to serve as the main feeder to the NRL competition, and is the final port of call for most players on their way up to the elite level of the game.?
?As such it plays a vital role in preparing youngsters and does it through clubs and colours that would be recognisable to JJ Giltinan and Dally Messenger even today.?
The meeting of past and present will take place at seven venues on the weekend with the first round matches as follows:
ROUND ONE - 11-13 April 2003 Eels v Raiders - Parramatta Stadium Knights v Bulldogs - Energy Australia Stadium Dragons v Sea Eagles - WIN Stadium Rabbitohs v Magpies - Aussie Stadium Cougars v Roosters - Western Weekender Stadium Jets v Sharks - Henson Park Bears v Tigers - North Sydney Oval