The ultimate fate of the Group 11 2020 season is still up in the air after a wave of cancellations and postponements were handed down across multiple sporting codes, but officials are optimistic after a New South Wales Rugby League statement.
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The declaration, which postponed all play in community level rugby league in New South Wales until at least May 1 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, has given Group 11 secretary Paul Loxley some hope that a season will be able to occur this year.
"It gives us a bit of hope, because of the reality of us having the seven clubs this year, we were looking to start at the end of April anyway, so it's not as big a blow for us compared to Group 10," Loxley said.
"We've got a bit of room to play with there, our grand final this year is going to be a week in front of last year, so we could end up playing to a similar time as the NRL if all goes well."
While there's still a lot of questions and a lot of time before any final judgement is made, Loxley said it was his view that the measures outlined by NSWRL could potentially see the competition only postponed for a few weeks.
"We could play into September, if everything goes back to normal." Loxley said.
"There's the opportunity for us to readjust and play a complete season, by pushing it back four weeks."
"If it just spurls out, it would nearly just be a normal season, I'm just hoping that it pans out as controllable as that."
While the NRL and other top level sports will be played out in front of empty stadiums as a safety precaution, it's a measure that Group 11 has already rejected on financial grounds, as it would be too harmful to the local clubs.
"At least at the moment, there's hope to play football, we have to be optimistic," Loxley said.
"I think we're lucky that we've only got the seven sides at the moment, we don't have to have as big a competition right now, which could be beneficial to us in this situation."
Loxley went on to say that if the conditions permit, he expects that almost everyone involved in making the decision will be pushing for a return to playing.
"I think what will happen is everyone will want to play football and NSWRL will want us to play football, so it's up to the powers that be at that point," Loxley said.
"Hopefully it's a point early or mid-May where we can get on a football field and play out a season."
While the postponement that's already been announced would mean training schedules would undoubtedly take a hit, Loxley said that ultimately the cancellation of team training would ensure a level playing field.
"We won't be able to play and train, but everyone will be pretty level. It'l give individuals an incentive to train as well," Loxley said.
"It hasn't been canned, we've still got hope that we'll get to play a full season this year."
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