South Coast News

The 2021 Group Seven Rugby League season has officially been abandoned following a meeting with NSWRL on Monday.

The meeting was attended by Group Seven operations manager Ashton Sims and outlined by NSWRL that COVID-19 uncertainty made it near impossible to push through and complete each league’s respective 2021 season for competitions in the Greater Sydney region.

Factors discussed included a lack of return to play guidelines, insufficient time to complete a worthwhile premiership and to not encroach on the summer sports.

Despite delaying their decision for as long as possible, NSWRL chief executive David Trodden admits they had no choice but to cancel the 2021 campaign.

“It is equally clear that it will not be possible for this to happen insufficient 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 Seven, 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 2021 senior competition had been stuck on the sidelines since halfway through round 11 (June 26), while the junior clubs not in the Shellharbour LGA returned to the field over the past three weekends – before the statewide lockdown was imposed
on Saturday.

Sims, whose competition recorded an increase in participation numbers since 2021, said his code will now turn its focus to the 2022 season.

“To all of the volunteers, committee members, parents, referees and especially the young boys, girls, men and women that have endured a torrid past two seasons of interruptions, both the junior and senior Group Seven boards want to thank you all for your continued efforts and support,” Sims, who started as operations manager in July, said.

“You really are the lifeblood of our great game and I look forward to working with you all in 2022 and beyond.

” Group Seven is the latest South Coast sport to have its 2021 campaigns suspended, following the likes of AFL South Coast and Illawarra Rugby.