Earlier this week the NSWRL this week confirmed the abandonment of Community rugby league competitions throughout Greater Sydney due to the COVID lockdown situation.
Affecting Cronulla-Sutherland district teams competing in under-13’s to open age competitions, the cancellation came on top of the local junior league unfortunately calling an end to competitions and age groups under their control in 2021.
However, the obvious disappointment to all concerned considered, there was still a number of things to celebrate for the Cronulla Sutherland Junior League.
Despite the challenges faced, the CSDJRL reported their highest ever participation numbers for the district – 5443 - representing an 11% increase on 2019 and almost 2000 extra players since 2015.
This number of participants placed the Cronulla Sutherland JL second in the state, behind only Penrith and above traditional junior league strongholds in Parramatta, the Central Coast and Illawarra.
We also boasted the largest female participation in the state with over 1600 playing in local competitions.
From a commercial standpoint, Sharks NRL front of jersey partner Aramex came on board as a major sponsor of the junior league, along with Zambrero, SMI, Kennard Hire & Bar TV.
The district also achieved a 100% compliance for volunteers with Working With Children Checks and while disappointing the season could not be saved, in the off season a strategic plan of the Junior League will be undertaken and as part of this a Junior League survey has been set up.
Go to https://forms.office.com/r/wrk25VLvfZ, with the junior league encouraging anyone and everyone involved, from players, to volunteers, referees, parents and supporters, to take the time to fill the survey out.
See following the NSWRL Press Statement, detailing the cancellation of community and major competitions.
Heartbreaking call to abandon Community Competitions in Greater Sydney
Following on from the very difficult decision last week to abandon a number of Major Competitions for the 2021 season in response to the COVID-19 outbreak across the Greater Sydney Region and adjoining areas, the NSWRL Board has now been forced to accept the heartbreaking reality that Community Competitions will have to be abandoned in the Greater Sydney Region along with Central Coast, Illawarra and Group 7.
The NSW Government last month extended the lockdown for the Greater Sydney Region, including Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, until 28 August 2021. Restrictions have now extended to Regional areas, with a statewide lockdown currently in place.
“It has become increasingly clear that with rising infection rates there can be, understandably, no NSW Government sanctioned roadmap out of the lockdown for sport at the moment,” NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said.
“It is equally clear that it will not be possible for this to happen in sufficient time to complete our season. In those circumstances, the Board was left with little option but to cancel our Community Competitions in the Greater Sydney Region along with Central Coast, Illawarra and Group 7, notwithstanding the disappointment which this will cause to the many thousands of boys and girls, men and women who play in teams and competitions across that region.
“In reaching their decision, the Board considered its obligation to comply with Public Health Orders as well as its broader obligation to provide participants with a safe environment in which to play sport.
“The NSWRL thanks our participants, officials and volunteers for their contribution to our Community Competitions this season. We urge them to remain safe, adhere to the COVID-19 safe guidelines and we look forward to their return in 2022.”
The NSWRL acknowledges the support which it always receives from its colleagues in the other major winter codes, particularly AFL, Netball, Football, Rugby Union and Hockey, who have been forced to make similar heartbreaking decisions in relation to their own competitions.
We all look forward to the sense of return to normality and also renewal that our various sports will deliver to our community in 2022.
In relation to Regional Competitions outside Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Illawarra and Group 7, NSWRL will monitor health advice and liaise directly with Leagues to consider recommencement options.