The Western Rams region is "contributing significantly" to rugby league in the state and a new competition structure will only further strengthen that.
That was the feeling of NSW Rugby League chief executive David Trodden following the release of a schedule for the 2022 Peter McDonald Premiership.
The game in the western area will undergo its biggest change in almost 80 years next season when 13 clubs from Group 11 and Group 10 come together for the western-wide premiership race.
Both competitions have proud histories and strong records of developing players who have gone on to play at the highest level.
In the past two seasons alone, a Penrith Panthers club featuring Dubbo juniors Isaah Yeo and Matt Burton, Wellington's Brent Naden, and Forbes product Charlie Staines won the NRL premiership while former Orange Bloomfield junior Jack Wighton was awarded the Dally M medal and crowned the best player in the competition.
"I'm really proud. There's so many good things happening in the game in western NSW and people shouldn't underestimate the strength of the game," Trodden said.
"It's not just he guys who play for Penrith who did so well contributing to a premiership, there's a couple who have figured prominently in our State of Origin pathway teams too.
"Western NSW is contributing significantly at the moment, not only to the strength of some NRL clubs, but to the overall strength of the game in NSW."
Trodden is confident the new premiership will continue to strengthen to pathways for juniors players in the region, while he's also excited by the prospect of a western team playing in the Presidents Cup.
The overall winner of the Peter McDonald Premiership next season will play for the title of state champion against premiers from Sydney's Ron Massey Cup and the top competitions in Newcastle and the Illawarra.
It will be a revamp of the Presidents Cup after nine clubs - including Dubbo CYMS and the Western Rams - played in the competition during a COVID-impacted 2020 season.
"With no preparation at all those sides were very competitive in that competition," Trodden said of CYMS and the Rams.
"Not judging success by the number of wins, they were totally up against it, and yet they were competitive in every game they played and in some cases they were up against professional semi-professional players from the Sydney and Wollongong areas.
"That for me demonstrated the underlying strength of competitions in western NSW. I think this western premier league will give a platform to showcase that and continue to grow it."
The Peter McDonald Premiership is expected to kick-off on the weekend of April 2 next year and the grand final will be on August 28.
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