NSWRL return to play update expected later this week

WAIT GOES ON: Premiers Wellington and their Group 11 rivals still have no concrete news on a return to play this year. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE
WAIT GOES ON: Premiers Wellington and their Group 11 rivals still have no concrete news on a return to play this year. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

Group 11 secretary Paul Loxley admitted he's worried about the chances of running a competition this year as the wait goes on for an update on community sport.

The NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) had stated in late April it would provide an update on community competitions on June 1 but as the first day of winter rolled around there was no major news.

"The NSWRL had expected confirmation from the NSW Government today," a brief statement released on Monday read.

"We now expect confirmation on final guidelines and a framework to return to play is just days away and ask for you to please remain patient."

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian told Ben Fordham on Radio 2GB on Monday she would have an announcement about community sport later this week so the NSWRL, and many other sporting organisations, eagerly await that.

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But Loxley is concerned things are dragging on, with some competitions around the state already being cancelled.

Numerous rugby union competitions - including the major bush comps in Newcastle and the Illawarra - have been abandoned for 2020 while the Group 2, Group 3, and Group 4 rugby league seasons are all in serious doubt for this year.

It's not just the football codes, with some of the state's leading netball identities writing an open letter to the premier late last week, outlining concerns around the lack of information on community sport.

Loxley, the Group 11 board, and clubs have been aiming to start their season on July 18 and that remains the goal.

"It's June 1 so there's still six weeks," Loxley said.

"But the longer it takes, it's whether the clubs are prepared to go at a minute's notice.

"Our hands are tied because we said we won't jeopardise the clubs for next year and we won't play without crowds.

"We need [ARLC chair] Peter V'Landys to produce another miracle.

"The longer it takes the more likely some competitions won't be played."

Clubs had previously been told they could begin training from Monday but Loxley said he wouldn't blame them if they struggled for motivation given the ongoing uncertainty around a start date.

Monday's statement from NSWRL added clubs should be in touch with their region's NSWRL representative in order to be ready to go when a detailed return to play announcement is made.

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