Clipped wings: Rugby body abandons 2020 season
THE Gatton Hawks have had their wings clipped, with the 2020 rugby league season called off.
The decision to cancel the premiership was announced by the Toowoomba Rugby League club during a press conference earlier today.
It's the first time in the club's 101-year history a season won't go ahead.
"It was financially not viable and a lot of work for a lot of volunteers, and there's also some concern about volunteers if they are more elderly and vulnerable," TRL chairman Rex Zeeman said.
The board of nine directors, along with representatives from all 12 TRL clubs, South Burnett and the referees association, came to a unanimous decision that play would not get under way in 2020.
"It was a unanimous decision by all 23 people," TRL chairman Rex Zeeman said.
"They all had a say and they all agreed that it was the only way to go."
With the end of competition in Toowoomba came the end of any chance of the Gatton Hawks being able to play this year.
READ MORE: IT'S OFF: TRL abandons 2020 season
Though it was a dour turn of events for the Hawks, the club supported the decision, A-Grade Coach Andrew Schmidt said.
"All of the clubs are together with this, in July it will still be only 100 people in crowds, and clubs can't survive on that. You wouldn't even get all the players from both sides in the grounds," Schmidt said.
He said players were also disappointed, but understanding, as many of them had already expected the outcome.
"They've only just announced it today, so not all the players know this yet, but I've contacted a fair few players, and they all kinda thought it was going to happen anyway," he said.
"I thought we weren't going to be playing. And if we did, with all of the extra cleaning of benches and showers and rooms, the number of volunteers you'd need to get it done is something none of the clubs have got."
Schmidt also said he was concerned those same logistic problems could threaten the chances of a 2021 season, if coronavirus was still present.
"If they don't find a cure for this coronavirus, then I'm worried next year is going to be pretty similar," he said.
"Just to have the players and their family, you're looking at 150 to 200 people in the grounds, and that's without supporters and all that.
"The clubs have got to have them in there, if they can't do that next year then football ain't gonna exist for small clubs."
With players and staff now going a year without hitting the field, Schmidt hoped his footballers would still be keen to return next year, if the season went ahead.
"A lot of people are used to playing every year, football, football, football, and if they have a year off, and do different things, especially those who have families and that sort of thing, they might decide this is all right, I might retire," he said.
"I didn't mind it myself, it wasn't too bad, I didn't have to go through plans for every week, I could just go home to relax."
READ MORE: Dual life member helps get the job done
In the short term, the club will be holding meetings to determine how to deal with monetary issues, and plan for the future.
"Some sponsors have already paid, some haven't, we've paid all our insurances," Schmidt said.
"It costs a lot of money to run this place for a year, and we've paid all this money out for all these other things, and now we've probably got to try to recoup some of this money to put over for next year."
Despite the complications, he was confident in the club's ability to recover, but encouraged locals to support their other local clubs.
"We're a football club, and we'll probably survive this. I think it's the clubs like the leagues club, the golf club, the bowls club, those places are going to really, really struggle with all of this," he said.
"We'd like to try to encourage people in the Valley to support them, when they do start opening."
Read more stories by Nathan Greaves