Group 16 league in planning for return

Allan Aldridge will lead the Eden Tigers reserve grade when the Group 16 competition returns with club feedback sought following a meeting.
Allan Aldridge will lead the Eden Tigers reserve grade when the Group 16 competition returns with club feedback sought following a meeting.

The Group 16 board is presenting options to clubs for discussion.

Chairman Allan Wilton said the board believes the current suspension until May 1 will be extended given the serious escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Wilton said the meeting discussed scenarios to ensure the survival of the Group 16 competition should the return of play be allowed in the near future.

The first option discussed was to start the competition on May 31 with an end date of September 26.

However, Mr Wilton said this plan was largely provisional on clubs being able to train in the later part of May in preparation for the season.

"It's also dependant on the widening catastrophe to subside quickly," Mr Wilton said.

A shortening of the season could have ramifications with sponsors so the board also discussed the possibility of a full season completion with the draw running later into 2020.

"Another option discussed would be to start the competition later in the season," Mr Wilton said, allowing the retention of the two pre-season fixtures in the All Stars and Nines draw.

That would set back the grand final date to late in October or even early in November.

However, if the coronavirus threat lingers, there is also implication that the entire season could be cancelled.

Mr Wilton said the pandemic situation had developed quickly and Group 16 were seeking input from their clubs on the best possible outcome, but were also following ongoing advice from NSWRL.

"The decisions and challenge we face to provide and maintain a rugby league competition in Group 16 in Season 2020 is of a magnitude never previously experienced in our life time," he said.

"And this requires all clubs to work together collectively to ensure we can provide and maintain our competition.

"In saying this the health and safety of all persons involved in our local rugby league, the volunteers, players and the supporting community are at the utmost for front of any decisions."

A general meeting has been set for April 18 to further discuss the options with clubs urged to provide feedback before April 11.