TRL season over before first kick off
RUGBY LEAGUE: Toowoomba Rugby League officials made the difficult decision this morning to cancel the 2020 season.
It comes after weeks of speculation as to whether the season would be able to go ahead, after coronavirus restrictions brought the game to a grinding halt just days out from round one.
TRL president Rex Zeeman made the announcement saying it was a “big decision that wasn’t taken lightly”.
“We did this after receiving a presentation from QRL representatives of their draft return to play handbook which will be going to the QRL board on Friday,” he said.
“It goes into considerable detail about the requirements for clubs and what the restrictions would be.
“It’s very much consistent with the Queensland Government’s guidelines for returning to play.”
The meeting held on Monday night to determine the state of the season was attended by TRL directors, representatives from all clubs and members of the Toowoomba Referees Association.
Zeeman said the decision was unanimous among those in attendance to cancel the season.
Warwick Cowboys head coach Matt Grew said it was disappointing to hear the news however was one that was “very expected”.
“When the QRL earlier decided that they’d cancel their competition, I thought the writing was on the wall for our competition at that stage,” he said.
“Even with the easing of restrictions, it was still going to be tough for clubs to do that and come back.
“At the end of the day, there’s not a great deal that we could do.”
In line with the government’s easing of restrictions, gatherings of up to 100-people will be permitted from July 12.
The limitation on spectators continued to be a concern for officials and was ultimately a deciding factor to cancel the season.
“To play without spectators makes it very difficult for the clubs; you’d be looking at only having two grades and you’re almost up to the 100-person limit,” Zeeman said.
“Which would make it very difficult from the clubs point of view financially. There would be expenses going out on a given day but no income from the gate or from food and beverage sales.”
While Grew is yet to discuss the season’s cancellations with players, he said many would be disappointed by not getting the opportunity to play.
“I think most of the players were sort of thinking along the same lines as I was,” he said.
“A lot of the boys were holding on to hope.
“There’s going to be a lot of disappointment from them, to wrap their heads around it.”
The Cowboys’ focus will now turn to the 2021 season and ensuing players retain some fitness during the remainder of the year.
“We’ll just have to structure the way we go about pre-season in 2021,” he said.
“A lot of the players, when they come back, won’t have done a great deal of exercise in six months.
“It’ll be getting players used to contact again because there are some big boys who play the game.
“And we’ll be making sure players get back into it so there isn’t an abundance of injuries.”
As the countdown now begins for next season, Grew will look to ensure players remain connected off the field.
“The biggest side isn’t just the playing,” he said.
“Making sure you’re keeping the club together and the players interacting.
“Maybe doing running challenges and once a fortnight or once a week training sessions (when we can).
“From our point of view, getting our players back involved will be beneficial going into next year.”