‘Uncharted waters’: How QRL clubs are impacted by shutdown
Queensland Rugby League has banned all team training inside club gyms or on local fields until the end of April, as part of the ongoing situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governing body is set to hold discussions with all statewide competition clubs, including those in the Intrust Super Cup, on Thursday morning to talk through the team training ban - which includes meetings, field and gym training - and the possible date of recommencement.
The state's junior and senior local leagues have also been told to cease training until May 1, which the QRL said is an "interim measure" based on medical advice.
It comes after the QRL board on Wednesday night moved to suspend all statewide competitions until June 5, and all junior and senior community games until the first weekend of May.
The QRL is working to ensure clubs in Queensland's biggest statewide competition, the Intrust Super Cup, won't be sent broke despite no games and training sessions to be held for the next two months.
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Some clubs are adamant they can survive until June, but privately have admitted it will be tough on them financially.
With an annual salary cap of $500,000 in the ISC, most clubs are hoping to honour all expenses, minus match-day payments.
The likes of powerhouse club Redcliffe Dolphins are financially sound, for the time being, backed by the rich Redcliffe Leagues Club which boasts 40,000 members.
"It's uncharted waters but I feel for the players, staff and most importantly the supporters," Dolphins boss Bob Jones said.
"We are in the process of working out what is economically viable for the club during this time because (the postponed season) will have some sort of impact."
Norths Devils also has the backing of two major leagues club in Brisbane's north, as well as the support of their NRL feeder team, the Brisbane Broncos.
The Blackhawks are another club well positioned, with the support of the Townsville Brothers Rugby League club, but as with many other clubs will face financial challenges.
Most other clubs also have the backing of major leagues club or local community sponsors.
The Sunshine Coast Falcons aren't backed by a major leagues club and rely instead on revenue from the QRL, sponsors and game-day income.
The PNG Hunters could also face some difficulties, not least because their entire playing group has had to remain in Australia to avoid the 14-day self-isolation protocol for travellers overseas.
As one club boss said: "it will be a testing season but not insurmountable".
A QRL spokesperson said the governing body was working with ISC clubs on their current financial situations.
"The QRL is working with all Statewide Competition clubs to understand the impact of the suspension of the season on club finances," they said.
"Intrust Super Cup clubs have a high level of variable cost base (based on match day) and varying level of dependencies on leagues club funding, sponsorship and game-led revenues.
"In many cases, the suspension of matches will reduce these variable costs and help to support the cashflow of clubs through this period of time."
Originally published as 'Uncharted waters': How QRL clubs are impacted by coronavirus crisis