NSWRL Suspends all competitions over COVID-19

18th March 2020

A special meeting of the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) Board has agreed to postpone all Community Rugby League until at least 1 May 2020, effective immediately, while all major NSWRL competitions have been suspended until 31 May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made by the NSWRL 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.

NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the recommendation covers all Rugby League matches, trials, training, courses and other club activities in NSW and is made with the health and wellbeing of players, coaches, staff, officials and volunteers and the broader community as a paramount consideration to assist in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Community Rugby League, which involves more than 100,000 grassroots players across NSW, from Under 6s to open age, was due to kick-off on 4 April, but will now be delayed until at least 1 May. NSWRL’s 13 major competitions, most of which started last weekend, with the exception of junior representative competitions which kicked off in February, have been suspended until 31 May. The later date will allow 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 23s Country Championships. In relation to the Canterbury Cup NSW, the NSWRL has decided that given the complexity of travel restrictions, the Warriors should not participate for the rest of the season. Trodden said: "I have discussed this decision with the Warriors CEO Cameron George and he supports the decision. Beyond that we haven’t decided anything with regards to the other suspended competitions." 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 activity 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."

Warriors withdraw from Canterbury Cup

18th March 2020

Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George today announced the club has agreed to withdraw its team from the second-tier Canterbury Cup for the rest of the 2020 season in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It follows confirmation today by the New South Wales Rugby League to suspend the competition until at least May 31 when it plans to resume with 11 teams. While the club is out of the reserve grade competition it will continue in the under-18 S G Ball Cup at this stage. NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said, due to the complexities of travel restrictions, it had been decided the Vodafone Warriors should not participate for the rest of the season. "I have discussed this decision with Warriors CEO Cameron George and he supports it," said Trodden. George said: "It’s not realistic for us to continue in the Canterbury Cup even if the travel restrictions are lifted and they’re able to resume in late May. It’s naturally terribly disappointing for us and for the players and staff involved but with the coronavirus pandemic we have no option." George said a final decision about the club’s involvement in the S G Ball Cup was yet to be made. "The situation with S G Ball Cup is different. We’re already six rounds into the competition and have only two more games to play before the finals." The Vodafone Junior Warriors lie seventh with four wins and two losses. With six points available from a bye and their last two matches, they have a chance of making the top four for the finals.

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