STILL KICKING: Group 2 hoping to salvage season
LESS than 24 hours after Group 2 CEO Jim Anderson announced the 2020 season had been cancelled, the group’s board has stated things aren’t over just yet.
Speaking on behalf of NSW Rugby League North Coast regional manager Kevin Hill, Group 2 board member Paul Dwyer said the announcement was “a little premature”.
“At this point the 2020 competition for Group 2 has not been abandoned,” Dwyer said.
“There are still plans being discussed and undertaken to try and provide some form of competition for clubs that have elected to compete this year.”
The initial announcement was made in the wake of Woolgoolga Seahorses, Grafton Ghosts and Sawtell Panthers all pulling their senior teams out of the competition due to financial constraints and concerns over player welfare.
But Dwyer said the coming days would be more telling in the direction the Group 2 board decides to go with the remaining clubs.
“We were waiting until Monday this week for clubs to make their final decision. The results of that are now known, leaving four clubs that had nominated to continue,” he said.
“Discussions are ongoing between Kevin Hill and clubs. There is a great deal of planning going on about which teams are interested in various divisions, including women’s league tag, under-18s and the seniors competition.
“We are still planning to run some form of competition. There are all sorts of variations and modifications we are exploring.”
Adding to the challenge for the Group 2 board is the shortened time span as the summer sport season is right around the corner.
“The other challenge is all games are played on council grounds and they are often shared with other sports. For example, the South Grafton Rebels’ ground will be taken over by cricket in a few months, but these constraints will be factored in,” Dwyer said.
A major concern for clubs has been the uncertainty over insurance costs for a shortened season and Dwyer said this had been a difficult obstacle that they were still trying to overcome.
“There is still a great deal of uncertainty over costs of insurance. The catch-22 is that we can’t quote for a job without knowing the full scale of it all,” he said.
“We simply can’t know until we figure out exactly how many players will be playing.”
The Group 2 board is set to have another video meeting with the remaining clubs tomorrow afternoon but Dwyer said there was plenty to be done in the lead-up to that point.
“We’ll have a video conference with those teams in the afternoon. Between now and then there is a lot of work to go in,” he said.
Whatever the outcome, Group 2 is hoping to have some form of footy go ahead.