Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
For the second year in a row, NSW Rugby League has had to cancel all of their competitions as a result of the state’s current lockdown. This means that many players have only played three months of football in the past two years.
Channel Nine’s Phil “Gus” Gould has put forth an idea to the National Rugby League’s power brokers to hold a version of the New South Wales Cup competition over the summer.
“I put a proposal to Andrew Abdo and Peter V’landys yesterday about a summer competition – a combined second-tier under-20s, under-21s type competition – through November, December and maybe a little bit into January where we play six or eight games,” Gould said on his Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.
“Have a combined Jersey Flegg-NSW Cup for players who haven’t played a lot of football. Even for injured NRL stars who haven’t had a lot of football this year might like to play a couple of games as well.”
Gould seems to have received a positive response to this, as NRL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Abdo has confirmed that this proposal is being considered.
“I think it’s a good idea. It’s always a good idea to get guys and girls playing football.” Abdo said.
However, whether or not this initiative goes ahead will likely come down to the current COVID-19 situation in New South Wales over the Summer and the NRL’s ability to ensure the health and safety of their players.
When looking at how the competition would work, each NSW Rugby League Cup club could be made up of their current players plus a select few from their Jersey Flegg counterparts to beef up the rosters, with the NRL also needing to decide if the league would maintain the scores and results from the 2021 Knock-On Effect New South Wales Cup and continue from where that competition left off or start from scratch.
On top of presenting this idea to the NRL, Gould has continued to perform his media duties for Nine’s Wide World of Sports and has recently been brought in by the Bulldogs as their director of football, and will be hoping to lead the club back to a state of relative success, as they have not played finals football since 2016.