Preparing for a non-contact training session are Souths Kookaburras players (from left) Joh Hammond, Amelie Hammond and Ari Biernoff.
Preparing for a non-contact training session are Souths Kookaburras players (from left) Joh Hammond, Amelie Hammond and Ari Biernoff.

Juniors ready to kick-off

RUGBY : There was no stopping young rugby players late last week.

With a spring in their steps and a smile on their faces, many players returned to training after receiving the “amber light” from Queensland Rugby and the state government.

To help clubs navigate the complexities of COVID-19 restrictions, the QRU created a “traffic light system” which clearly states what is allowed at each stage of progression.

“We have been given the amber light by Queensland Rugby which means clubs can conduct non-contact training in small groups,” Downs Rugby general manager Matt Hammond said.

“All of our clubs and school teams will return to training at their own pace and some are already back on the field.”

Toowoomba club Souths Kookaburras was among the first to take advantage of the ease in restrictions.

“It’s good to be back. I’m excited to be back with my team,” Ari Biernoff said.

“I think I will need to work on my passing and my step.”

The ease in restrictions will give junior and senior players a month to prepare for the season ahead.

“I’m really excited to meet my team again,” Joh Hammond said.

“I really missed all the friendships.”

Amelie Hammond was also excited to be lacing up her boots again.

“I’m very excited. I think my best skill is running past players,” she said.

Under the new guidelines, three separate groups of 20 players can train on a designated field provided it is roped off into sections.

“We had to do a bit of myth busting early on,” Matt Hammond said.

“We don’t need six foot high fences separating the fields – they just need to be roped off.

“We also now have 31 registered COVID SAFE officers after they went through the training provided.”

Player numbers at senior and junior levels are also looking promising despite the uncertainty of COVID-19.

“The senior player registration numbers are very encouraging,” Hammond said.

“We expect to have at least two grades at this stage in the senior men. In the juniors we have over 1000 players already registered.”

Rugby action on the Darling Downs is scheduled to kick-off on the weekend of July 18.



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