Build it and they will Scrum.

Story by – Glen Quartermain
Photo – Justin Benson Cooper
West Australian Newspapers Group

The NRL led the way on May 28 as the first Australian sporting body to restart in the COVID-19 pandemic and on July 4, the local premier rugby league competition will follow in the footsteps of James Tedesco, Kailyn Ponga and Cameron Smith.

The 2020  Healthway  WA Smarter than Smoking Premiership kicks off on July 4 (seniors) and 5 (juniors), while the women’s tackle competition launches on July 3.

The season will feature 13 rounds, a finals series over two weekends and the grand final on October 17.

The Healthway-backed competition will have a fresh look with Brooke Blurton of Bachelor fame hosting the match of the round on live stream and replayed nationally on NITV every Tuesday night.

Brooke knows her stuff, having played rugby league in Perth.

NRL WA general manager John Sackson said all clubs and officials will operate under a rugby league specific return to training and play guidelines, based on both the State Government and AIS regulations.

“It’s fair to say that the NRL paved the way,” Sackson said.

“It gave us a lot of pride to see our game leading the way both aggressively and progressively, demonstrating strong leadership.

“When many people said it couldn’t be done, our game overcame so many different challenges at the highest level.

“To meet that May 28 target date and to deliver the quality of football they have and to do it within the confines of the COVID protocols havs been incredibly challenging. I appeal to all fans to get out this season to support your local rugby league clubs.

“I was always optimistic about it happening.

“In fact four or five weeks ago we created a few scenarios in terms of how we were travelling with COVID-19 and we pinpointed July 4 and 5 as being realistic to start the season.

“We have managed to salvage pretty well our whole season because we are rolling it deep into October whereas normally we finish in September.”