WHILE a new dawn for rugby league in NSW is upon us following the recent rezoning announcement, it appears it won't directly impact the South Coast Group Seven competition.
On Monday, the NSWRL revealed its 'One State' strategic plans for football competitions document, outlining how it intends to move forward as a sport in NSW.
Under the new regime, NSWRL will have five new Sydney metro regions, including the Northern and Southern Corridors, Sydney Central (incorporating Macarthur) and Western Sydney - as well regional zones such as Greater Northern and Greater Western and Bidgee.
In these governance area plans, the former Greater Southern Region (which used to encompass Group Six, Group 16, Group Seven and Illawarra) has been split, with the latter two joining Cronulla and St George regions to form the Southern Corridor.
While Group Six (which will have new boundaries with Group Seven drawn up) and Group 16 are now part of Macarthur and Greater Western and Bidgee.
Despite all this, Group Seven president Scott McLaurin denied the changes would impact his senior and junior competitions moving forward, saying his committee are "happy with their product and where they are positioned on and off the field".
Australian Community Media also understands, as part of the strategic plan, all regional Groups and metropolitan junior leagues will retain their governance structures, emphasising there are no plans to merge Group Seven and Illawarra.
"The NSWRL is passionate about all forms of the game in NSW from our successful State of Origin programs, regional and Sydney competitions, women's rugby league, community programs and grassroots football," said NSWRL chief executive David Trodden in a statement.
"The opportunity to come together with the CRL at the end of 2019 presented us with a unique chance to have a look at the way rugby league was being administered across the state and to determine if there were any areas where it could potentially be improved.
"I'm extremely proud of all the hard work that has been done by the NSWRL in producing the 'One State NSWRL strategic plan' for our football competitions and I look forward to its implementation and the benefits it will deliver to all our participants across the state."
Under the new creation of efficient competition structures within zones, NSWRL aims to facilitate two-tiered structures to promote competitive balance, limit travel to 150km in regional NSW and 45 minutes in metropolitan Sydney and localise competition structures in younger ages.
The plan will also see the creation of a state-wide Ron Massey Cup modelled on the Presidents Cup trialled this year as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on local competitions.
Also, the Harold Matthews Cup, SG Ball Cup and Jersey Flegg competitions will change age brackets for the 2021 season and beyond, moving to under 17s, under 19s and under 21s respectively, with no other changes to competition formats including no change to the timing of the competition schedule.
The Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley competitions will remain as an under 16s and under 18s program respectively - under a seven-week competition format, while the Tarsha Gale women's competition is moving to an under 19s division.
Other objectives of this blueprint include an increase in recruitment and retention of participants, increase the number of qualified referees operating at grassroots level, a clearly defined competition pathway with minimum standards of delivery at each level and enhanced competition and development pathway for women and girls.