June 10, 2020
The South Burnett Rugby League’s 2020 season – for both junior players and seniors – has been officially cancelled.
SBRL president Dave Tierney said the management committee and club representatives met on Tuesday evening.
“After lengthy and robust discussion, the difficult decision was reached that with the current 100-person limit, the SBRL will cancel both Junior and Senior competitions for 2020,” Mr Tierney said.
“There was a caveat on the decision that should numbers be lifted, this will be reviewed in an effort to get some form of rugby league back on the fields across the South Burnett.”
He told southburnett.com.au the sticking points were the 100-person limit, insurance costs and player numbers.
“If the State Government raises the 100-person limit significantly, we will definitely be talking about getting footy back on the park as soon as possible,” he said.
Mr Tierney said clubs were asked to take into account the full extent of the obligations and stringent requirements that would be placed on them and volunteers as outlined in the Return to Play Handbook.
“Each club was asked to consider how these impacted on their club individually and how practical they would be to implement at their club,” he said.
“Whilst in true country rugby league spirit and never-say-die attitude, most clubs said they could probably make them work. However the sticking point was that 100-person limit was too restrictive and impractical.
“All clubs acknowledge their current volunteers are wholly committed to rugby league and their clubs, however expressed concern what impact these extra conditions would put on these club servants. They acknowledge that they would struggle to find other volunteers to help with the extra and onerous conditions.”
Mr Tierney said it was also taken into account that some clubs were struggling to field teams in certain grades prior to COVID-19 and the adverse impact this would have on players returning.
“The group also considered the implications of the current biosecurity restrictions on Cherbourg and the adverse impact this would have on that club participating in any competition,” he said.
“Whilst it was thought that there would be ways around these it was eventually recognised that the onerous limit of only 100 persons and the associated logistics and costs, both financial and social, involved in their implementation and enforcement these made it impossible to proceed with any form of competition.
“We understand that players and parents need to prioritise work commitments at this time and so have decided to make a decision sooner rather than later.
“I would like to congratulate the presidents and club executives on their decision.
“I know this is not a popular decision but it is a decision that was needed to be made to ensure a healthy SBRL competition exists in years to come.
“I would like to also thank sponsors of the clubs and league for their support and understanding during this period as well.
“Whilst the players and officials want rugby league back we need to take into account the health and well being on all those involved, especially the risk within our league and wider communities.
“As a league we will use the time to focus on planning for 2021 and getting things in place for a bigger and brighter 2021 season.”
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Central Burnett Rugby League president Cameron MacDonald confirmed on Wednesday the Central Burnett competition has also been cancelled.
Mr MacDonald said this followed a meeting with clubs on June 9.
He said it was not viable for a competition to be held with COVID-19 restrictions.
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On June 3, Toowoomba Junior Rugby League chairman Dan Aldons said the TJRL was working on a strategy to get junior clubs back on the field in 2020.
“The TJRL believes that we can realistically recommence football this season and it is our intention for this to happen as quickly as possible in accordance with the government guidelines,” Mr Aldons said in a statement from the club.
“We will let you all know as soon as the details are sorted.”
Toowoomba’s senior competition was cancelled on May 26.
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Sunshine Coast / Gympie Rugby League also remains optimistic about getting back on the field.
On June 4, SCGRL president Glenn Peatling said both juniors and seniors would try to get some sort of rugby league back on the Sunshine Coast.
Sunshine Coast junior clubs would be reviewing the future of their season on June 15.