Tannum's Vassa Hunter in the Womens Rugby League Grand Final in 2017 against Emu Park. PICTURE: Mike Richards
Tannum's Vassa Hunter in the Womens Rugby League Grand Final in 2017 against Emu Park. PICTURE: Mike Richards

It’s all over for women in rugby league competition

RUGBY LEAGUE: Tannum Seagals will not have the chance to defend its Intercity Bundaberg-Gladstone Women's Competition.

The IBGWC followed the difficult step taken by the Toowoomba Rugby League to cancel its own competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the non-feasible stage three's 100-people maximum rule per venue during games effective from July.

It also means Gladstone Wallabys and Calliope-Gladstone Valleys will not feature in the extended competition.

Seagals' premiership-winning coach Chris "Butch" Bryson cast a positive spin.

Pensive Chris Bryson in last year’s grand final. PICTURE: Nick Kossatch
Pensive Chris Bryson in last year’s grand final. PICTURE: Nick Kossatch

"The year off will make for exciting times for 2021," he said.

"We had a few injuries in 2019 and some players could not play this year because of other commitments.

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"I can't see anything but positives.

The cancellations came on the back of Bundaberg Rugby League's decision to cancel the under-18s, reserves, A-grade and the women's competition this year.

"I love my footy but I don't think it's viable for games to be played because of so many restrictions," Bryson said.

Seagals created history last year as the only team to win grand finals in two separate competitions.

The women from Tannum Sands won the extended women's Rockhampton competition in 2018 before last year's heroics against Bundaberg Brothers.

Queensland Rugby League region manager for the central division Rob Crow said it was disappointing and he understood the IBGWC's decision.

"Obviously these were the conditions imposed by the state government," he said.

Even though the stage two restrictions were accelerated forward as of Monday, Crow said the extra pressure put on volunteers to monitor COVID-19 hygiene practices was also a factor.

"Stage two caught us all by surprise but we thought some leagues would cancel while some would wait if there would be any further easing of restrictions," he said.

Rugby League Gladstone was one of those to wait on what would unfold.

"There's time limit and the RLG are prepared to sit and wait if there are any more relaxations," Crow said.

BRL chairman Mike Ireland told Newsmail said it was a collective decision to cancel the season.

"Everyone knew this was likely to be the decision we took," he said.

"To be honest, what we wanted was changes from the Queensland Government and the Queensland Rugby League but we didn't get that.

"Players also wanted to know so we made the decision to can it for 2020 and play in 2021."

With Shane Jones

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