Big decision for Redmen on eve of FNC season
RUGBY UNION :With Far North Coast rugby still on a hiatus for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grafton Redmen president Guy Robertson has reservations about the competition being given the green light.
As a player and administrator, Robertson admits he would love nothing better than running out for the Redmen this season but added the current implications surrounding the coronavirus has prompted plenty of unanswered questions.
“There are just too many unknowns at this stage and I suppose the big question is, can the zone provide a safe environment not only for the players but volunteers and spectators,” Robertson said during the week.
“It’s a case of risk versus reward, and at this stage risk potentially outweighs reward.”
So, what are the implications to consider if the zone decides to go ahead with a hybrid competition, and what guidelines have been set in place to ensure the safety of players and the rugby community?
The zone has already advised that the season will consist of one round.
At this stage Far North Coast rugby is aiming for a seven-team competition depending on the decision of clubs to enter a side.
RETURN TO TRAINING
Coaches are required to ensure training activities comply with public health authority guidelines.
Players have indicated they have concerns a limited training schedule (set down for early July) could see an increase in injuries and highlighted contested scrums as a potential danger.
Local sport including rugby could potentially impact others in the community.
What hygiene measures will be put in place for players, coaching staff, administrators and volunteers to ensure the local community is protected from a potential outbreak of the virus?
Will current sponsors get bang for their buck?
If crowd numbers are limited or non-existent, sponsors advertising their product will be affected.
If guidelines were put in place by the State Government and Rugby Australia banning canteen and bar sales it would not be cost effective for clubs.
They still have to pay for lights, game day expenses and player registrations fees and insurance.
IN THE ZONE
Upper and Lower Mid North Coast have announced their competitions will start in mid-July.
New England is also set to return to the field on July 18, however Central North Rugby has decided to abandon the 2020 season.
IN A NUTSHELL
A lot will depend on directives from NSW Health and Rugby Australia. Local Council ground restrictions could also apply. Ensuring players, administrators and the community are not at risk will be paramount.
Grafton has provided a response to Far North Coast rugby with a decision on the likelihood of a competition being handed down in the next few weeks.