The COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in the demise of the region's under 19s rugby league competition, the state's governing body of the sport has said.
Last week, The Armidale Express reported Group 19 were forced to abolish any chance of playing the under 19 competition due only one club, the Guyra Super Spuds, having enough numbers to play.
Devastated Guyra under 19 captain, Jack Armatage, made a plea to the game's administrators to do something about it.
The Express contacted NSW Rugby League and received a response from chief executive officer David Trodden.
"Communities in regional NSW are facing many challenges with changing demographics, and those challenges affect all sections of the community including community sport," Trodden said.
"The challenges vary from place to place and are not specific to one town or one sport.
"On top of all of that, the particular challenges created by COVID-19 last year have affected many clubs and many competitions."
The area's last competition in 2019 was played under the Country Rugby League banner.
But that year it changed as NSWRL merged with Country Rugby League and took over the administration of the game.
Trodden said the new structure has affected the game but they have made plans to improve it.
"The game in the bush has undergone significant structural transformation of recent times including the recent coming together of the CRL and NSWRL as the one entity; a new strategic plan that goes directly to the issue of competition construction and removing barriers to participation; and the imminent implementation of Project Climb, involving all community Rugby league staff operating under the one umbrella," he said.
"We are confident all of these initiatives will provide a platform to address the issues facing Rugby League in regional NSW.
"We are committed to making participation in community rugby league across the whole state as good as it can possibly.
"Increasing participation levels everywhere, particularly in regional NSW, is a specific strategic goal of NSWRL."
The Express made further contact with Trodden and his administration after their initial response and asked for further clarification on what the "strategic plan" entails, how and when it will be implemented.
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