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ORL outlook good

Saturday, 25th April, 2020

Some of the action during an ORL Sevens competition last year. Some of the action during an ORL Sevens competition last year.

By Emily Ferguson

Outback Rugby League could make a start in the coming months after NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) decided to work towards a shortened season to ensure the game can be played this year.

On Wednesday the NSWRL Board established a plan to re-start community rugby league activities from July 2020, while the plan is still subject to reviews and changes. 

The re-start of senior competitions as with most winter sports will favour towards returning on July 18, with a return to training on July 1, depending on the status of the public health in the meantime. The start date of July 18 will be further reviewed and confirmed on June 1, subject to the existing Government advice available at the time. 

NSWRL Far West Competitions Support Officer Dallas Reeves said they were excited about the prospect of the season beginning in July.

“We essentially operate under the guidelines that the governing body operates under so what will happen now is we will discuss this further with clubs. 

“Over the next week or so we’ll let clubs have a chat with their players, talk amongst themselves and then we’ll meet with them relatively soon and go over what options we have,” he said.

The decision from head office was made in consultation with other statewide sporting bodies in NSW.

“I know what has been proposed for rugby league is very closely mirrored by Netball NSW, their way of thinking to return to training on the first of July and return to play on the 18th of July,” said Reeves.

“Basically, they are community sports looking for school term three as an avenue to get kids to be able to play during that time of the year.

“Obviously there’s going to be a lot to look at before we lock everything in.

“It’s great news but there’s still a bit to walk through before it’s all one hundred percent definite go ahead.”

Reeves said they will speak with the teams from the local competition and see if they’re supportive of restarting.

“I think they will be but we still need to speak to them first and see what they think and then we’ll make plans accordingly,” he said.

“Obviously one of the key things is we’ve got to make sure that it’s safe and have to look into all sorts of factors, so it’s pretty early stages at the moment.

“It’s great news but there’s a lot to sift through.

“Obviously whether people can attend or not is something we’ll have to discuss, and indeed whether people want to play or not if crowds can’t come.

“Potentially social distancing but again that becomes difficult when we’ve got a sport where it’s pretty much impossible for people to stay 1.5 metres apart while they’re playing.”

Reeves said he had some positive comments from people who are keen to get into it.

“We’ve just got to make it safe so it’s in everyone’s best interest health wise because it’s a pretty serious thing that’s happening, but people are keen and we’ll do everything we can to try and make it happen.

“It’s a big year for the league this year after only having the two teams and the five games for both those teams in 2019, so even if it is a shortened season, we’d like to have a competition go ahead for sure,” said Reeves.

“It’s all fairly general at this stage, the big thing at the moment is that we’re just excited that there’s a real solid chance of us being able to play footy this year.”

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