The BRL will not take place in 2018.
The BRL will not take place in 2018. Kim Micke

Plight of our footballers a big cause for concern

LAST week I discussed the amount of good the World Cup was doing for the international game, and how it was bringing to light the vast array of talent involved in the game.

Fast forward a week, and we're in a much more sombre state.

It was announced on Wednesday evening the BRL competition would take a year's hiatus, with the hope of returning in 2019.

Sadly, this trend isn't resigned to our surrounding regions, with player and volunteer numbers a big concern for the game.

Naturally there is a tendency for players to give up the game as they get older, and the trend is quite alarming.

This is something I have witnessed first hand.

When I began refereeing in the South Sydney competition, there were six divisions of U6 football, and there were enough teams for teenagers to play locally.

Now, it is a struggle to get three divisions for the young ones, and clubs in the Sydney region have had to combine for teams to have enough competitors.

Taking in rugby league in Warwick has made me appreciate the sacrifices people make to play the game.

Players from Goondiwindi can travel almost three hours to play a game in Toowoomba.

If that doesn't show you how much these blokes love their footy, nothing will.

With the BRL announce- ment on Wednesday, two clubs with rich histories will not compete in 2018, and they are up against it to get back on their feet in the following years.

Both Killarney and Inglewood have people who worked their backsides off to try and stay alive for next season, but sadly it was to no avail.

It is a cliche, but volunteers are the lifeblood of bush footy, and without them, there is no game.

I sincerely hope the year off prompts people to realise the great game we have can't be taken for granted, and everybody has to do their bit to ensure rugby league not only remains alive, but continues to be strong.

Sacrifices have to be made to keep bush footy alive, and I hope they can be made to ensure there is a BRL in 2019.

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