NRRRL makes decision on weekend matches
AFTER the last-minute decision to pull the plug on the return to play, the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League board has confirmed games will proceed this weekend.
NRRRL chairman Mark Harrison said the board would be contacting all the clubs to say that games would resume this weekend.
Harrison said while clubs "were not happy" with the NRRRL's decision, it was done with the clubs' best interests at heart.
He said the NSW Rugby League's decision to ban spectators would have seen clubs lose potential income holding the matches under strict pandemic protocols.
"The phone ran hot," he said.
"We were guided by a decision made by NSW Rugby which restricted any supporters from watching the game live ... (it) would have a negative impact on clubs' finances."
Harrison said the NRRRL had to make a hard call to save clubs already facing tough times.
"They said crowds had to be completely limited which they interpreted to allow players and essential staff only at the grounds," he said.
"This advice from NSWRL would mean no crowds and no money for the clubs who need to raise around $35,000 per annum.
"Gate takings and other income pays for essential things like strapping tape, player insurance and referees being paid so they need the gate income to pay those bills."
Harrison said he also felt for the fans, but hoped they would be out supporting their players and clubs this weekend.
"The simple fact is if we do the right things our game will survive, and if we don't, it won't," he said.
He said the NRRRL recognised the passion of its fans who love the game and want very much to be part of the sporting experience
The match line-ups for this weekend will remain the same, Harrison said.
Harrison also confirmed if Lower Clarence, Kyogle and Evans Head wanted to rejoin the season, the NRRRL wouldfind a way.
It is understood to competition will remain over 10 weeks, reducing the finals series to a top four (run over three weekends) finishing in October.