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2TM Regional News

Group 4 Rugby League season at mercy of coronavirus

Picture: Group 4 Rugby League

GROUP 4 Rugby League's 2020 season is still alive but remains at the mercy of coronavirus pandemic.

Group 4 president Ray McCoy said the intention is still to kick off on May 2 or 3, but that depends on what happens with the coronavirus.

"We have got to be flexible and remain positive," he said.

A meeting on Tuesday night discussed the many alternatives open to Group 4 for playing a 2020 competition with a shortened season or even with gala days. He said Group 4 would wait to see and follow, directives from the NSWRL.

The NSWRL Board has agreed to postpone all Community Rugby League until at least May 1, 2020, effective immediately, while all significant NSWRL competitions have been suspended until May 31.

The NSWRL decided in partnership with the National Rugby League and all affiliated states, and after carefully considering the advice from NRL Chief Medical Officer Paul Bloomfield, government agencies and other key stakeholders.

NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the recommendation covers all Rugby League matches, trials, training, courses and other club activities in NSW.

Community Rugby League, which involves more than 100,000 grassroots players across NSW, from Under 6s to open age, was due to kick-off on April 4, but will now be delayed until at least May 1.

NSWRL's 13 major competitions, most of which started last weekend, except junior representative games which kicked off in February, have been suspended until May 31.

The later date will allow teams to train and prepare earlier in May if Community Rugby League is cleared to resume.

These competitions include Canterbury Cup NSW, Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership, Jersey Flegg Cup, Ron Massey Cup, Newcastle Business Plaza Cup, Sydney Shield, UNE SG Ball Cup, Laurie Daley Cup, Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup, UNE Harold Matthews Cup, Andrew Johns Cup, Women's Country Championships and Men's Under 23s Country Championships.

Concerning the Canterbury Cup NSW, the NSWRL has decided that given the complexity of travel restrictions, the Warriors should not participate for the rest of the season.

"I have discussed this decision with the Warriors CEO Cameron George, and he supports the decision," Mr Trodden said.

"Beyond that, we haven't decided anything with regards to the other suspended competitions."

Mr Trodden said that given the fluidity of the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic the NSWRL will continue to monitor and review the position based on expert advice and will communicate any updates regularly.

"Above all else, our priority is to protect the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and supporters, as well as the broader community," he said.

"The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to change daily, and we are very mindful of the need to be prepared, and take the practical, necessary measures required to maintain hygiene standards.

"At the same time, we also need to remain calm and not add to any sense of public panic.

"The NSWRL will continue to monitor the situation actively and is committed to making decisions in relation to COVID-19 and its impact on Rugby League activity based on the advice from the Federal Government and other medical experts.

"The NSWRL will continue to provide updates on its position to the football community as the latest information becomes available."

Article by Geoff Newling.

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