GAME DAY: Michael Giles taking a hit up for the South Burnett Eagles in a pre-season match. (Picture: Tristan Evert)
GAME DAY: Michael Giles taking a hit up for the South Burnett Eagles in a pre-season match. (Picture: Tristan Evert)

Challenges ahead for South Burnett rugby league clubs

RUGBY LEAGUE : Coronavirus restrictions are beginning to ease with the major sporting codes nearing kick off, however the local rugby league clubs still have a number of hurdles to overcome.

The three phase plan announced by the federal and state government allows for outdoor gatherings of 10 people by May 15, outdoor gatherings of 20 by June 12 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100, subject to review, by July 10.

A rugby league side has anywhere between 17-30 squad members and with a club having multiple teams, this means clubs wont be able to start training until July 10.

Rugby League Queensland are currently working through several scenarios to get community footy back, however the impacts reach beyond the field.

Murgon Mustangs president Scott Prendergast said clubs still have to pay for things like insurance and jerseys.

“At the start of the season clubs have a number of expenses such as insurance, any maintenance that needs to be done and jerseys,” Prendergast said.

“The way we work is we get sponsors on a three year deal and every three years we get new jerseys.

“Due to this virus, some sponsors are having to pullout, which we completely understand, however this means we have had to keep the same jerseys and put a hold on some renovations we were doing.”

Even with phase three restrictions lifted and outdoor gatherings of 100 are allowed, Prendergast said it will be difficult for clubs to be viable.

“With just two teams on the field along with coaches and officials, you are already looking at around 50 people,” Prendergast said,

“Clubs rely on spectators spending money at the bar and the canteen and even with the 100 allowed it will be hard for clubs to make money.

“We are always remaining positive and it’s within everyone’s best interest to play footy this year, however there are still a number of things South Burnett Rugby League have to work through before getting the season starts.