One club has hundreds of juniors keen as mustard to train, but unless borders reopen they’ll be without a season.
One club has hundreds of juniors keen as mustard to train, but unless borders reopen they’ll be without a season.

Border closures will impact junior sports

SPORTS clubs and associations tackling return-to-play COVID-19 rules say the process is an "absolute nightmare" that will get worse unless the border reopens in July.

They also want relaxations in Stage 3 to allow more than 100 people to gather and the reopening of canteens and bars, an essential source of income for Gold Coast clubs struggling to cover coronavirus restriction costs.

Since Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk announced Stage 2 restrictions from June 1, volunteers across all codes have worked 24/7 to restart sports practices for kids this or next week.

NSW will allow community sport to resume on July 1.

Casuarina Beach Rugby Club has hundreds of juniors "keen as mustard" to train, but unless borders reopen they'll be without a season.

Members of the Helensvale Hogs. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Members of the Helensvale Hogs. Picture: Glenn Hampson

President Brian Laybutt said there were dozens of teams on the Tweed Coast that played in Gold Coast competitions, including hockey, football and netball, facing border restrictions.

"We don't have any other team to play here so it would be so wrong for kids to miss out on sport. If the borders don't open we'll end up writing to the minister for sports for an exemption," he said.

Helensvale Hogs Rugby Union Club president Karl Wernham said training would resume next week with six groups of 20 staggered across various timeslots and was pleased only one out of 280 players had left the club.

Mr Wernham said during Stage 3 restrictions in July it was crucial that 500, not 100, people were allowed to gather. "We need this many people to ensure we have an income, same goes with being allowed to open the canteen and bar."

Netball associations are tentatively aiming for a July 18 season restart for juniors, with Northern Gold Coast Netball Association (NGCNA) expecting their season to blow out until November 28.

Association president Matt Batcheldor said a return to netball this year would be in line with directives from Queensland Sport and Rec, Netball Queensland and Gold Coast City Council.

Netball tournaments are in doubt amid coronavirus restrictions. Picture: AAP Image/Renae Droop
Netball tournaments are in doubt amid coronavirus restrictions. Picture: AAP Image/Renae Droop

The Bulletin understands there's been little consultation with parents from NGCNA clubs, with some concerned there'll be a crossover with summer sports.

Tweed Netball Association president Helen Rigney said she'd been consulting with families through clubs to find out what length of competition they wanted.

"We could go up to 14 weeks but why would you do that to the families? That's not going to give them any family time and will bring us close to Christmas," she said.

As for our families who live across the border, we really need it open because it's just making life so much harder for them."

Southport Carrara Netball Association president Marian Chester said getting girls back on the courts was proving "an absolute nightmare".

Non-competitive juniors had been put off, no spectators are allowed and every court would have a different exit and entry point, with every other court required to be empty.

"A lot will say they can't be bothered coming back this year," she said.

Originally published as How border closures will impact junior sports


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