There will be senior rugby league played in the western area in 2020.
That's the message from the NSW Rugby League's Peter Clarke as he waits to hear if clubs from Group 11, Group 10 and the Woodbridge Cup are interested in a combined competition for this year.
All three competitions have had their 2020 seasons cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but various clubs across each remain eager to take to the field this season.
An under 18s competition from July 18 is a near-certainty and is expected to involve 14 teams.
Now, senior and league tag sides could join them.
Clarke sent an email to all clubs this week asking for an expression of interest to take part in a Western League for this year.
Dubbo clubs CYMS and Macquarie are major drivers of the idea, with draft draws even being proposed in recent days, but there will be no talk of possible structure util the end of next week at the earliest.
"Clubs have voiced support for it and they want football regardless," Clarke said.
Clubs have voiced support for it and they want football regardless.NSW Rugby League's Peter Clarke
"Restrictions are starting to ease and the signs are positive that clubs can operate more freely but we still need to respect the guidelines and hygiene protocol.
"We're concentrating on the 18s because we've got enough interested to run a competition and we're giving senior clubs the opportunity."
The sporting landscape has changed plenty since both the Group 11 and Group 10 seasons were cancelled last Tuesday night.
Senior sport has been given the green light to return from July 1, groups of up to 20 can now train together, and restrictions are starting to ease around members of the public at sporting events.
Any possible senior competition is reliant on updates continuing to trend in the right direction but Clarke and numerous clubs from around the region are optimistic.
There's no current minimum or maximum number of senior clubs Clarke is looking for to make a competition work, with flexibility key to having play return to the field.
A league, running for somewhere around 10 weeks, isn't the only option with knockouts run over less time and other formats to be looked at to ensure those keen every chance to play.
Clubs across the region have until next Friday, June 26, to reply to Clarke with their commitment.
It is believed the interest from the Woodbridge Cup is more focused on juniors than any senior competition.
The Woodbridge Cup season was cancelled after a meeting on Monday and one club, the Cargo Blue Heelers, have already approached the mid-west based Wallerawang Landscaping Cup for entry this year.
Clarke confirmed there was strong representation across the three competitions among those clubs keen to be part of the juniors season.
CYMS, Macquarie, Forbes, Parkes, and Wellington are the Group 11 clubs reportedly set to be part of the competition while Orange duo CYMS and Hawks, Bathurst pair Panthers and St Pat's, Mudgee, Cowra and potentially Lithgow would make up the Group 10 contingent.
Canowindra and Grenfell may fly the flag for Woodbridge Cup.
The juniors' season will start on the weekend of July 18 with the grand final to be played on the last weekend of September.
"There's no exact format but it's looking really positive," Clarke added.
"It will be a strong competition so there's plenty to look forward to."
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