In partnership with the State governing bodies, the NRL has announced its postponement of the community rugby league in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NRL has planned the suspension to last at least until the first weekend of May.
NRL Head of Football – Participation, Pathways and Game Development, Luke Ellis said that prior to the decision being made, there was a wide consultation put together.
‘Community rugby league will be postponed until at least the first weekend of May, that includes playing games and training’, he said.
A few more of the postponed events are all junior and senior community club rugby league competitions, training, gala days, and future League Stars programs.
Ellis also added, ‘The decision to pause community rugby League in Australia was not taken lightly and is simply about the NRL and State governing bodies, as custodians of rugby league, putting extra-conservative measures in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and wellbeing of our participants’.
The move has hit the NSWRL as well. Its 13 major competitions with a majority of them kicking off last weekend have been postponed until May 31. The junior representative competitions which started earlier in February have also been postponed.
In regards to the Canterbury Cup NSW, the NSWRL made a move in which the Warriors will no longer participate for the rest of the season due to the complexity of travel restrictions given.
The Auckland-based club was said to be in agreement with the decision according to NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden.
‘I have discussed this decision with the Warriors CEO Cameron George and he supports the decision’, Trodden said. ‘Beyond that, we haven’t decided anything with regards to the other suspended competitions’.
If the NRL is cleared to resume, teams will be able to train and prepare earlier in May.
‘Community rugby league is the foundation of our game. We are committed to seeing it flourish. I understand some participants will be disappointed with the decision, but community health must come first’, Ellis closed. ‘We look forward to our community rugby league participants returning to the game as soon as expert advice deems it appropriate’.