NSW Rugby League's manager for the Western Region, Peter Clarke, feels it is crucial to provide some kind of competition for the area's under 18s players.
Both Group 11 and Group 10 senior competitions were abandoned in landmark decisions on Tuesday night but both remain committed to providing something for those under 18s sides eager to play.
The state government announced junior competitions from the under 18s age group and lower could start from July 1 and a combined Western Rams league run across 10 weeks could potentially provide for those in this region.
The details will be sorted in the coming week with Clarke first set to meet with clubs from the Castlereagh League and Woodbridge Cup to determined whether they will be involved or potentially continue in their own competitions.
Regardless of the exact structure, there will be rugby league on offer for juniors this year.
"It's crucial," Clarke said.
"The 17 and 18-year-olds are the future of our game and the next generation of players.
"Retention at that age group is key for rugby league and also their own lives. They love getting out to play sport and be with their friends.
It's also very early days but there is the chance some kind of senior rugby league will still be offered to those clubs keen later in the year.
Tuesday's nights decisions in Group 11 and Group 10 were still "raw", according to Clarke, and while the majority of clubs are happy to sit out this year there may be an opportunity for some type of matches a little further down the road.
Things are looking far more definite for the under 18s, with a format featuring a July 18 start date and grand final at the end of September expected to be tabled to clubs within the next week.
The most likely is a Western Rams league, featuring those clubs keen to be involved.
Group 11 president Bob Walsh stated on Tuesday night it was his feeling the Nyngan and Narromine clubs would not be taking part in under 18s this year, as well as senior footy, while adding Wellington was not certain of its plans at this stage.
"We're considering a regional approach," Clarke confirmed.
"We've got to consider all options but there was positivity from Group 10 and Group 11 in terms of working towards a format that maximised participation."
The announcement senior sport could return from July 1 on Wednesday shocked many across the state, including Clarke.
There had been little indication the green light was going to be given any time soon but regardless of the announcement officials from Group 11 and Group 10 stated it wouldn't change anything for this year.
Clarke could understand that but added with the 18s moving he felt a sense of optimism after the prospect of any sport was looking bleak at the height of the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.
"It's positive considering where we were two months ago," he said.
"We're glad to be able to provide something for kids in the western region."
Clarke will be part of a Castlereagh League meeting on Thursday night before he discusses plans with the Woodbridge Cup board and clubs on Monday.
Have your say
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below ...