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Major second-tier competitions cancelled across Australia

Major competitions, including the Intrust Super Cup and Canterbury Cup, for second-tier men's and women's rugby league across Australia, along with national representative programs, have officially been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In conjunction with the NSWRL, QRL and Combined Affiliated States, the uncertainty around a return-to-play date and logistical difficulties have forced the game's state governing bodies to cancel certain competitions for the remainder of the season.

Major competitions cancelled

New South Wales

  • Canterbury Cup
  • Jersey Flegg Cup
  • SG Ball Cup
  • Harold Matthews Cup
  • Tarsha Gale Cup
  • Andrew Johns Cup
  • Laurie Daley Cup
  • Men's under 23s Championships
  • Women's Country Championships

Queensland

  • Intrust Super Cup
  • BHP Premiership
  • Hastings Deering Colts
  • Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup

National

  • Schoolboys Championships
  • Harvey Norman Women's National Championships
  • All Combined Affiliated States representative football

No official decision yet

  • Harvey Norman Women's NSW Premiership
  • Community Rugby League
  • Ron Massey Cup
  • Sydney Shield

NRL head of football for participation, pathways and game development Luke Ellis said the decisions confirmed on Friday were made in the best interests for everyone's health and safety.

Kezie Apps hits it up for NSW Country against Queensland Country in 2019.
Kezie Apps hits it up for NSW Country against Queensland Country in 2019. ©Joe O'Brien/NRL Photos

"I know this will be a disappointing outcome for those involved in these competitions right across Australia, but the health and safety of those involved with rugby league must always come first," Ellis said.

"It was essential for us to at least give the players, clubs and staff some certainty going forward so they can focus on themselves and their families during this uncertain time."

No decisions have yet been made around State of Origin junior and senior representative teams or matches, while a final decision around community rugby league, including Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield will be made in the coming weeks.

Community rugby league in NSW had been placed on hold nine days ago until at least May 1.

A final decision on the Harvey Norman Women's NSW Premiership is also yet to be confirmed despite Queensland's equivalent, the inaugural BHP Premiership among the competitions to be cancelled.

While most major competitions across both states started in line with the NRL season just a fortnight ago, NSWRL's Harold Matthews and SG Ball competition's were six rounds into their seasons. 

NSWRL CEO Dave Trodden said in a statement the uncertain nature of the coronavirus pandemic had taken decisions out of their control.

"It is devastating for everyone involved but the advice has changed dramatically since we suspended these competitions nine days ago," Trodden said.

We understand the outcome is a heartbreaking one for the rugby league community.

Rob Moore

"We have an obligation to be part of the solution for this pandemic, both for the rugby league community and also for the community more generally. This view was uppermost in the minds of the board."

QRL managing director Rob Moore added rugby league was a large part of the fabric in Queensland.

"We understand the outcome is a heartbreaking one for the rugby league community, but it's a call that simply had to be made given the current circumstances," Moore said. 

The news follows after the NRL announced earlier on Friday the second edition of Magic Round, which was pencilled in for round eight in May this year, would no longer go ahead.