THE NSW Rugby League has pulled the trigger on nine of its major competitions as the code continues to battle effects of the coronavirus.
The state governing body has cancelled its NRL feeder competition the Canterbury Cup, as well as its Jersey Flegg, SG Ball, Harold Matthews and Tarsha Gale Cup.
The Illawarra Steelers were the defending champions in both the SG Ball and Tarsha Gale Cups, with Daniel Lacey's side undefeated competition leaders at the time of cancellation.
The Laurie Daley and Andrew Johns Cups have also been cancelled, as have the Women's Country Championships and Men's Under 23s Country Championships in which the Illawarra South-Coast Dragons were looking to go back to back.
The decisions were made in consultation with the NRL and QRL, which has also cancelled its major NRL-affiliated competitions, as clubs look to dramatically cut costs in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the Board had no option but to take this unprecedented action in response to the revised medical advice from government health officials and other experts, along with the various travel bans within Australia and New Zealand.
"It is devastating for everyone involved but the advice has changed dramatically since we suspended these competitions nine days ago," Trodden said.
"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."
The NSWRL is yet to make a call on its other major competitions, which this year includes the Illawarra Rugby League, that remain subject to postponement until May 31, while community football also remains postponed until at least May 1.
Trodden was hopeful these competitions could resume in some form.
"The likelihood of a shortened season in which to conduct the bigger competitions like Canterbury Cup NSW and Jersey Flegg Cup was also a factor as the narrow window of opportunity to resume and complete the competitions meant it was not viable to go ahead," he said.
"This issue is not as big of a concern for some of our other competitions and community football that can still be conducted over a shortened timeframe or as gala days or mini carnivals.
"We will continue to monitor the situation daily and review the status of our other competitions as circumstances change and updated information becomes available.
"We are also aware that rugby league can play a role in the healing process of the community so when it is safe to play, we hope to give our players, volunteers, coaches and officials the opportunity to get back to doing what they love, even if it is for a shortened period of time."