New Zealand Rugby League hopes to launch domestic competitions next month
Shane Wenzlick / Photosport
The NZRL Premiership could start next month after delays caused by Covid.
NZRL CEO Greg Peters is hopeful that domestic competitions can take place next month, although the Auckland teams are not involved.
The lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic have led on several occasions to postponing national competitions, the situation having not helped Auckland being on a different level of alert from the rest of the country.
Peters said they continually prepare new schedules for the men’s, women’s and youth competitions and then have to start over.
But with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying on Monday that the first Auckland could upgrade to Tier 2 would be on October 6, it gives the NZRL a rough idea of ââwhen the competitions can begin.
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âWe have landed on the latest program which will allow us to have an activity in the men’s and youth space and we are looking at when the National Women’s Sky Sports tournament will take place, or if we postpone it until early next year. for the Prime Minister. But there will be women’s activities in a competitive format, âsaid Peters.
âWe have to be aware that the alert levels in Auckland unfortunately complicate Auckland teams, which is because Auckland have to take their level with them wherever they go.
âSo if the rest of the country is level 1 and Auckland is level 2, that means there are other constraints around what we can do and I might add that we still have to reach level 2.
“We must have had 20 different versions of this by now and we’ve been talking to people across the country to try to get the best response, to get some national football this year and still holding the torch so we can have a Kiwi game. Ferns in November, but this is again subject to level changes in Auckland. “
The latest plan is to have the men’s competition run until October, with the national youth tournament taking place in the middle of the month.
However, those plans are still in pencil and it will take a conditioning window of a few weeks for players.
Auckland is the league’s power base in New Zealand, with the Counties Stingrays and Akarana Falcons two of the strongest teams, but Peters said they would reluctantly continue without them, which is a situation the New Zealand rugby is also facing for the North Harbor. , Auckland and Manukau Counties NPC teams.
“This is not our desired position, but at the end of the day we will try to create football for those who can play this year,” said Peters.
âSo if that’s the end result, even if it would be unfortunate, we’re focusing on being able to provide grassroots football that we would normally have one way or another.
“It’s unfortunate if this is how we have to proceed, but we hope we can keep the Auckland teams involved.”
Any chance the Kiwis will play a test this year has been ruled out, but Peters still hopes the Kiwi Ferns can play a test in mid-November, likely against a Pacific island nation.
Meanwhile, Peters said he has been in contact with Kiwi coach Michael Maguire as he fought to retain his position at Wests Tigers over the past few weeks and is delighted that he will be retained.
âI spoke to him regularly during the last short period and offered our support to him,â he said.
âI’m really happy to see him continue with the Tigers and we look forward to working with the Kiwis and getting them back on the pitch in 2022 and towards the World Cup at the end of the year.
“It’s great to see he kept his job with the Tigers from our perspective.”