Match broadcasts which lead into NRL telecasts, an increase in games played as curtain-raisers to NRL fixtures and a full home and away season are just some of the exciting aspects of the 2014 VB NSW Cup draw released today.
Over 40% of matches set down in the draw for the 2014 season will be played in conjunction with NRL and Holden Cup at NRL venues across New South Wales, giving club members and fans a greater opportunity to watch all of their favourite players at the one venue.
In 2014 there are two changes to the competing teams with the New Zealand Warriors and Penrith Panthers both entering VB NSW Cup sides in preference to the feeder team arrangements previously in place with the Auckland Vulcans and Windsor Wolves respectively.
Penrith Panthers executive general manager Phil Gould said: "The VB NSW Cup Competition has improved considerably and whilst we have an extremely successful relationship with the Windsor Wolves Club we thought playing the VB NSW Cup side under the Panthers branding was the right step forward."
"The draws have been aligned to allow Centrebet Stadium to play host to three grades on a number of occasions in 2014.
"Both of our VB NSW Cup and Holden Cup teams are extremely important to the ongoing success of the Penrith Panthers and we are looking forward to season 2014."
NSWRL chief executive officer David Trodden says the emphasis this year has been on aligning all League-run competition draws to benefit members and fans of every club.
"The NSWRL administers five major competitions which start at varying times throughout the year so a lot of work has gone into trying to line up these competitions," Trodden said.
"This year, on a number of occasions, fans will be able to watch Harold Matthews and SG Ball Cup matches and stay around to watch VB NSW Cup games at the same venue.
"When our Junior Representative competitions near competition in May, fans can still see an increased number of triple-headers at NRL venues.
"I would like to thank all of our competing clubs for their assistance in the draw development process and I hope they are as excited as I am for season 2014."
Round One of the 2014 VB NSW Cup will kick-off with the Fox Sports telecast of the Penrith versus Newcastle match at Centrebet Stadium which will be played prior to the corresponding Telstra Premiership fixture.
With the inaugural match between the winners of the VB NSW Cup and Intrust Super Cup to be played at ANZ Stadium on NRL Grand Final Day, the NSWRL will return to its traditional Grand Final Day which will include the Ron Massey Cup and True Blue Chemicals Sydney Shield Grand Finals as well as the VB NSW Cup decider.
The 2014 Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions will begin on Saturday February 15 with their Final Series to begin on April 19 and the annual National Final on May 17.
The Ron Massey Cup and True Blue Chemicals Sydney Shield seasons commence on March 22 and include 22 Rounds with Final Series and both competitions will culminate on NSWRL Grand Final Day.