Published: Wednesday 18th March 2020
The NSWRL has today announced all 2020 Community Rugby League competitions and activities have been postponed until at least 1 May, effective immediately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the recommendation covers all Rugby League matches, trials, training, courses and other club activities and was made with the health and wellbeing of players, coaches, staff, officials and volunteers and the broader community as a paramount consideration.
A special meeting of the NSWRL Board made the decision in partnership with the National Rugby League (NRL) and all affiliated states, and after carefully considering the advice from widespread consultation with NRL Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Bloomfield, government agencies and other key stakeholders to assist in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The majority of Community Rugby League competitions, which involve more than 100,000 grassroots players across NSW, from Under 6s to open age, were due to kick-off on 4 April.
In addition, the NSWRL Board has suspended to 31 May the organisation’s 13 major competitions, most of which started last weekend, with the exception of junior representative competitions which kicked off in February.
The delayed return allows 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 23 Country Championships.
Trodden said: “At the moment all competitions have been suspended but we haven’t decided anything beyond that.”
He 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,” Trodden 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 actively monitor the situation and is committed to making decisions in relation to COVID-19 and its impact on Rugby League activities 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.”