U15s South Grafton Rebels VS the Ballina Seagulls at the Group 1 Junior Rugby League grand final at the Yamba Sports Complex.
U15s South Grafton Rebels VS the Ballina Seagulls at the Group 1 Junior Rugby League grand final at the Yamba Sports Complex.

BIG CHANGES: What to expect as winter sports return

THIS weekend several winter sports will kick into action across the Clarence Valley for the first time this year.

Most sporting organisations have implemented a number of COVID-19 protocols to maintain a safe environment for all.

With Victoria and southern NSW battling a new spike in cases, it is important to ensure all stakeholders are across the measures in place to avoid any further cancellations.

• NSW COVID restrictions return: What you can and cannot do

New measures will limit the number of spectators, including family, at sporting fixtures.

The current NSW Government guidelines indicate only one parent or guardian will be allowed on the sidelines at any community sport fixture, and excludes other relatives such as grandparents or aunties and uncles.

The measures, effective immediately, also bans anyone who visited a location with community infection such as Victoria within 14 days from being a spectator.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant requested the new restrictions in a letter sent to sporting organisations on Thursday afternoon.

The plan to "minimise community sport spectators where practical" means "we'd prefer no aunties and uncles, grandparents or siblings crowding the sidelines if they don't need to be there," Acting Sports Minister Geoff Lee said.

To keep you in the loop, The Daily Examiner has done a round up of the measures in place for local sporting organisations starting back up this weekend.

 

RUGBY LEAGUE

THE Group 1 Junior Rugby League competition gets underway on Saturday, with South Grafton Rebels hosting Clarence Coast Magpies at McKittrick Park from 9.45am.

Grafton Ghosts will also hit the round for their first round of games but new rules have been implemented around spectator numbers to ensure any potential contact with Victoria and other cluster hotspots are limited.

Clarence Coast Magpies Junior Rugby League took to Facebook to inform its members of the new protocols.

"As part of COVID-19 restrictions that have just been implemented today all players and spectators must advise if they have or have not been to Victoria in the past 14 days," a spokesporson said.

"If you are attending the game tomorrow, please email magpiescovid@gmail.com ASAP with your names and advise if you have or have not been to Victoria in the past 14 days.

"As of today, NSW Health have advised fenced venues are limited to one person per participant (one parent or caregiver) at junior sport where practical.

"Thank you for your co-operation with complying with the regulations we must adhere to so our kids can play the game they love."

 

Northside's Mia McLaughlin in the Division 6 GNA netball grand final between City Rubies and Northside Stars at Westward Park last season. We may be seeing a few less spectators on the sidelines on Saturday.
Northside's Mia McLaughlin in the Division 6 GNA netball grand final between City Rubies and Northside Stars at Westward Park last season. We may be seeing a few less spectators on the sidelines on Saturday.

 

NETBALL

LOWER Clarence and Grafton Netball associations are now up to round three of the season, resuming for the school holiday break.

The return of netball has so far been a smooth operation, but GNA provided an update on its Facebook page on Thursday reminding members of a limit on spectators.

"We have received correspondence from Netball NSW, which has stated that each player MUST only bring ONE parent or guardian to spectate," a spokesperson said.

"This information has been directly sent from Dr Kerry Chant as she has requested all community sport look to limit their attendance at sport by only allowing ONE parent or guardian to attend.

"We understand how challenging this may be on families and we apologise for that but we must adhere to these new guidelines.

"Unfortunately, changes are happening very frequently at the moment and we will certainly ensure that you are updated with all relevant information as we get it.

"Grafton Netball would greatly appreciate everyone's help with this updated regulation."

 

HOCKEY

GRAFTON Hockey Association has been vigilant as it approaches a return to competition on Saturday and has made site maps and done all it can to ensure a safe environment.

See the map below and check out our previous story on GHA's move for a COVID-free return to play.

 

Grafton Hockey Association posted a map with assigned entry and exit points as they prepare for a return to competition on Saturday.
Grafton Hockey Association posted a map with assigned entry and exit points as they prepare for a return to competition on Saturday.

 

RUGBY UNION

THE Grafton Redmen are another side back in action on Saturday as they welcome Causurina Barbarians in their Far North Coast Rugby season opener.

Redmen pundit Gary Nichols included the list of safety measures in place during the opening fixture.

COVID Safety Measures in Place

a. Access restrictions with changes around clubhouse.

b. Limited grandstand seating - supporters encouraged to bring own seating.

c. Supporters encouraged to sit around field.

d. Limited bar and canteen.

e. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms, do not attend.

 

FOOTBALL

NORTH Coast Football returned in full force two weeks ago and has remained a leading example for other codes as they look to keep their community safe.

Matches have been monitored for any breach of conduct but limits on spectators and the possibility of any contact with hot spots will also come into place this weekend.

 

ON COURT: Levi “Orange” Kearns from Pacific Valley Christian School in the final at a previous NRMA Sea Breeze primary school tennis championship in Maclean.
ON COURT: Levi “Orange” Kearns from Pacific Valley Christian School in the final at a previous NRMA Sea Breeze primary school tennis championship in Maclean.

 

TENNIS

GRAFTON City Tennis Club will host a super series event on Sunday, the first major event since COVID-19 hit the region.

Due to smaller participant numbers and distanced match-play, tennis has had no major issues in conforming with the restrictions and protocols, but more information will be released in the coming days.



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