BIG DECISION: The future of the Biloela Panthers for the 2020 and 2021 season will be decided by Central Burnett clubs and officials next week.
BIG DECISION: The future of the Biloela Panthers for the 2020 and 2021 season will be decided by Central Burnett clubs and officials next week.

Footy team under threat in Banana Shire

FOOTY clubs and competition organisers are weighing up the choice of going ahead with a 2020 season as pressure builds for sport to return.

The 2020 season for the Biloela Panthers Rugby League Club remains uncertain after a meeting was held in March to determine if the senior club would fold or move to the Central Burnett competition.

Central Burnett Rugby League president Cameron McDonald said a decision on if a 2020 competition would go ahead and consequently if the Panthers would play in the league this year would be decided when clubs meet next week.

"We'd be happy to have the Panthers on board but we've been held up with COVID-19 and we've just received the QRL return to play handbook," Mr McDonald said.

"We have to get each club to sit down and have a flick through it and give the go ahead for some sort of a season to run.

"Even if some don't want the season we will do what's best for the clubs and competition.

"We're hoping that if we were to call the season off, we'd be happy to welcome the Panthers with open arms for 2021."

Mr McDonald said the worth of a shorter season would need to be considered with the extra stress on club finances and volunteers potentially leading to clubs folding in 2021.

QRL Central Division manager Rob Crow said he expected some leagues like the Toowoomba and Bundaberg senior competitions not to go ahead in 2020.

"Each league has their own issues to deal with, some are large, and some are small, they need to consider everyone involved," Mr Crow said.

"We aren't directing any league they need to consider their own environments and work with their clubs and find out what of the season start date to be."

Despite groups of 20 now being able to train at club venues and excitement towards a possible season start date, clubs are still scrambling for a return to training after the Premier brought forward stage two restrictions on Sunday.

"It caught everyone by surprise and I would think there aren't any clubs ready to go straight away 'cause they need to order cleaning products and things they need to get underway in a COVID safe plan," Mr Crow said.

"It might take a week or so to get those practices in place.

"There's also the added pressure on our volunteers with a multitude of things that need to be completed prior to players taking the field.

"Checking off players and asking the relevant questions about any flu symptoms they have and monitoring spacing between players."

Mr Crow said the limit on 20 people to train per venue, not per field for clubs with multiple fields, would make it difficult for all players to get the preparation in they need for a season start.

"Our information is that the government will listen to the peak sporting body in Queensland not individual sports," Mr Crow said.

"A letter has gone to the peak sporting body for further relaxation."



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