Football codes in the Maranoa are postponing games and cancelling training under advice for coronavirus prevention.
Football codes in the Maranoa are postponing games and cancelling training under advice for coronavirus prevention.

RDRL, Downs Rugby postpone games under coronavirus advice

MAJOR changes are coming to local football clubs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as each code grapples with the public health emergency.

Some have cancelled games and training, while others are going ahead with strict rules around hygiene in place.

Rugby Union

The Roma Echidnas and St George Frillnecks have both confirmed all training sessions and games are cancelled, under the direction of Queensland Rugby Union and their local body, Downs Rugby.

In a joint statement, Downs Rugby and the QRU reiterated advice they had received from Rugby Australia, and said they will reassess when a new directive is released on May 2.

“Following the announcement by Rugby Australia this afternoon relating to COVID-19 and community rugby across Australia, Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) and therefore Downs Rugby Limited, will suspend all affiliated and sanctioned community Rugby competitions – including training – until Saturday, 2 May 2020,” the statement read.

“During this time, the QRU is encouraging clubs and other affiliated bodies to follow public

health information and procedures regarding containment of the spread of COVID-19, from

the World Health Organisation, Australian Federal Government, Rugby Australia and

Queensland Health.

“The recommended suspension would leave a window from Saturday 2 May through to

Saturday 12 September 2020, preserved for local club competitions to be played, if

circumstances allow.”

Junior Rugby League

The Roma and District Junior Rugby League has postponed their fixture until May 2.

Advised by the QRL, the league issued a statement to parents and families saying their health must come first at the moment.

“After advice and direction by the QRL and (considering) the current unknown situation, we have decided that our children’s, officials’, parents’ and community’s welfare should come first,” RDRL president Justin Garvie said.

“We realise this is a disappointment after a successful open day and will look to have our players back on the field ASAP.

“Rep training will be cancelled, and we will continue to communicate with everyone in regards to possible games later in the year.”

The RDRL has also cancelled their scheduled trip to Brisbane, where their representative teams were due to play.

In light of the current situation, the committee said cancelling was the most responsible thing to do.

“This was (a decision) not taken lightly, however, we felt it was a risk and irresponsible to take 90 players and officials on buses – along with the possible exposure into areas that have already had documented cases,” their statement read.

“We will aim to push this trip back to later in the season once everything settles down.

“We will refund all parents the Brisbane trip levy of $60 and the Broncos tickets purchased.”

Senior Rugby League

Across all senior age groups, strict hygiene measures have been put in place under a directive of the QRL and NRL.

While clubs are still permitted to run training sessions, they are implementing policies for players including no sharing of water bottles, towels or other toiletries; sterilising of all equipment; avoiding the use of club amenities; and reducing unnecessary contact such as handshakes and hugging.

In a letter to clubs, the QRL outlined the policy in greater detail, and advised it would follow the lead of the NRL.

Today, the NRL updated players, clubs and fans via a statement on their website.

It said lower levels of competition could be cancelled for up to 10 weeks, with all bodies preparing for the worst-case scenario.

“Grassroots footy, second-tier competitions and junior representative fixtures are expected to be suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” the statement

“Officials at both the NSWRL and QRL are meeting on Tuesday to discuss contingency plans around their state-based and lower tier competitions, with the prospect of six to 10-week hiatuses raised.

“No official call has been made by either body, but the suspension of all bar top-level rugby league until at least May is being reluctantly planned for.”

The QRL is due to meet tonight and come to an official decision. From there, it will notify local clubs.