Written by Maria Girgenti
Photo by Maria Girgenti
At a joint meeting on Monday with QRL and CDRL board and officials, this year’s Cairns District Rugby League (CDRL) senior competition has been cancelled after nine teams voted unanimously to cancel the season.
This is the first time in over 70 years since it has been cancelled with the last time during World War II, and is the third regional competition to be called off along with Toowoomba and Bundaberg.
This decision also deals a double blow for Cairns based Northern Pride club with the Intrust Super Cup competition being called off in March and now the Cairns competition which Under 20s players were going to be part of.
Due to COVID-19, the season was going to be postponed until later in the year, however even with restrictions being eased several clubs voiced their concerns regarding the limit of 100 people allowed at each venue inclusive of players and staff.
Without a certain number of spectators to attend the games, clubs were not in a position to pay their players or officials or cover the running costs of their facilities.
Before COVID-19 brought rugby league to grinding halt in March, the Tully Tigers managed to fit two pre-season games against Herbert River Crushers and Townsville Norths where their three teams notched up wins, while Innisfail reserve and A grade teams were victorious over Western Lions from Townsville in their only trial match.
While there is much disappointment among players and fans in the passionate rugby league towns of Innisfail and Tully, although the general feeling among the whole rugby league community is that the right decision has been made in the current circumstances.
Despite restrictions being eased and players able to return to training as of June 2 and games due to start on July 10, most of the clubs in the competition rely on spectators to keep their doors open.
With the cancellation of the 2020 season, clubs can now focus on moving forward and keeping players engaged, while fans and supporters will be eagerly anticipating the start of the 2021 rugby league season which is expected to return bigger and better.
The focus will now turn to Cairns District Junior Rugby League as club presidents have been provided with some options for the rest of the 2020 season and will make a decision next week.