'Not too late': NRRRL says clubs who left can come back
AS PLAYERS, clubs and fans welcome the return of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League 2020 season, its top official confirmed any club who earlier withdrew was welcome to return.
NRRRL chair Mark Harrison said everyone was "stoked" that after months of lockdown the 10-week season can finally commence.
Harrison said when the NRRRL told clubs that the rest of the year would be cancelled, "we felt drained".
"We also felt disappointed we could not be involved in the game so many people love," he said.
"We maintained constant contact with NSW Rugby League in the hope they could find a way to get the game up and going when it was safe, we were constantly talking with clubs and maintaining a positive vibe.
"The clubs were great but they had questions we had no answers to as waited on NSW Rugby League and the state government.
"It's been emotional, most clubs thanked us, a few were a bit apprehensive and we lost three.
"But it's never too late.
"If after this weekend they want back in, then yes, you bet, we'll find away to make this work."
Harrison said the NRRRL was expecting a "finals-like" atmosphere as fans flocked to support their teams on Sunday.
"We ask they realise we are still bound by COVID-19 regulations, so come along, have a great time but respect the volunteers," he said.
"If we all do the right thing the game will continue, but if we don't, the games won't. It's as simple as that."
Byron Bay Red Devils secretary-treasurer Larry Petty said players and supporters were ecstatic about a return to competition.
"Everyone is really keen," he said.
"Todd Carney our captain-coach will be there; players just want to get out there and tackle."
Devils U18 coach Brad Purtell said their match will be a repeat of the 2019 U16s grand final.
"We will be out for revenge," he said.
NRRRL Round 1, 19 July 2020
Bilambel vs. Ballina
Tweed Coast vs Murwillumbah
Casino vs Marist Bros
Northern United vs Mullumbimby
Byron Bay vs Cudgen.