24 April 2020

Grassroots league gets ready for July kick-off

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra Raiders Cup season could re-start in July

The Queanbeyan Blues celebrate after winning the Canberra Raiders Cup grand final against Goulburn at Seiffert Oval in 2019. Photo: CRRL.

The announcement by the NSW Rugby League Board that they were planning on re-starting grassroots rugby league in July is encouraging news for Canberra Region Rugby League.

The NSWRL is aiming to get their grassroots competitions up and running around 18 July, with players back training with clubs two weeks prior.

However, this start is very much dependent on where we find ourselves in terms of COVID-19, but it at least signals the intent to return.

It also provides a level of guidance for the Canberra Region Rugby League, which administers the Canberra Raiders Cup, the George Tooke Shield and junior competitions in the ACT.

The reason why the decision by the NSWRL Board impacts on the code here in the ACT is that the Canberra Region Rugby League is affiliated with the NSWRL.

Canberra Region Rugby League General Manager Mark Vergano has welcomed the announcement, saying “it’s good news”.

“We now have a time frame for a return,” he added.

Pending a number of medically based conditions, the specific date does give a clear indication of intent to all involved. But decision-making associated with COVID-19 differs between NSW and the ACT, and this will have a bearing on the outcome.

Vergano says he will be speaking with the ACT Government’s Sport and Recreation Department in the lead up to July’s proposed start-date.

Rugby league is one of a number of Canberra sports organisations seeking to return around the middle of July.

The numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in the Canberra region and the timeline for the gradual easing of restrictions, in the end, could be the determining factor.

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