The coronavirus, Covid-19, has certainly rattled the cages of every sport in recent months and all sports have their own individual challenges to overcome.
I’m not sure if some of our NRL club’s have caught their own particular type of virus but I am hard pressed to recall a recent or distant season when the gap between the good, the bad and the downright ugly is so vast.
In fact you could be forgiven for thinking the NRL is running a two tier competition.
After losing their two pre-Covid games, the Roosters are crowing in rarefied air and while there is still plenty that can go wrong for them in the remaining seven or eight rounds of the amended competition they are currently freewheeling and flying high and heading towards the top of the table.
They have a fairly handy draw in the lead up to the finals, meeting only a couple of the fancied teams on the way.
The Eels currently head the standings ahead of the Knights, Panthers, Storm, Eagles, Raiders and Bunnies who round out the current top eight.
The gap between those sides and the remainder seems to be widening with each week. It is not good news for Maroons fans as the three Queensland teams all find themselves at the wrong end of the ladder and there is precious little light at the end of the tunnel for their supporters.
While there is a long road to travel before we start talking State of Origin 2020 our Queensland stocks are looking pretty thin on the ground and a good transfusion of the famous Queenslander spirit may be necessary this season.
Of the teams in the bottom half of the ladder the Tigers look to be the only side knocking on the door of the top eight trying to force their way in.
The Cowboys horror run of injuries is only overshadowed by their very tough draw between now and round 20 and must be giving Coach Paul Green nightmares.
The Sharks have lost their bite; the Dragons have their own injury concerns before you mention form. Now one of their greatest back stops, James Graham is heading back to the Old Dart to finish his playing career with St Helens. Their Coach Mary McGregor is just one of half a dozen coaches under the pump.
The fate of Bulldogs coach Dean Pay appears from the outside noise to be a week to week proposition but an improved performance last weekend may give him a little wriggle room.
The axe has already fallen on Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. A bitter pill to swallow for him no doubt but on the flip side the Warriors performance was pathetic last weekend. Obviously their owner was not prepared to wait and see if an improvement under Kearney could be salvaged.
Of course they weren’t alone the Titans were shambolic and saving the best or worst for last, the Broncos a disgrace. Who would ever have contemplated the mighty Brisbane Broncos Club would be in such disarray.
The Broncos don’t have the easiest draw in the next few weeks and how they handle their problems in 2020 is developing into an intriguing story in itself. A loss to the Titans this week at Suncorp might cause all sorts of changes and unfortunately if you are a Broncos fan, brace yourself it could be on the cards.
Let’s hope these NRL clubs in the bottom half of the ladder can find a vaccine to fix whatever virus they are all suffering and put their fans out of their misery.
Rabbitohs; Storm; Roosters; Knights; Broncos; Eels; Sea Eagles: West Tigers
2020 SENIOR LEAGUE WRITE OFF
The Board of the Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League last week officiallly cancelled the 2020 season. After weeks spent trying to find a solution, the Board sought nominations from the 16 affiliated clubs to participate in a centralised venue concept with the possibility of returning to home and away games if restrictions were lifted.
President of the SSRL, Glenn Peatling said only two of the 16 clubs showed an interest in this concept. These are truly extraordinary times and this will be the first time in over 100 years that there has not been a rugby league competition in the region.
Although there are lots of whispers around rugby league of pending changes and easing of restrictions there is no concrete evidence of any changes happening soon.
In the end the Board has run out of time and options to get season 2020 off the ground. While it is disappointing for clubs, players and fans they join a large number of senior leagues across the state who have made teh same decision.
The Noosa Pirates Open Women’s, Under 18, Division 1 & 2 teams will not play under the local Senior competition banner this season. While this is disappointing the Pirates Board are investigating what alternatives are available. Perhaps even some exhibition games.
In the meantime it is understood that some players from clubs in the SSGRL may now look to play in the Brisbane Rugby League competition or even change codes.
JUNIORS PIRATES BACK
Although the Sunshine Coast Senior Rugby League season has been cancelled the Sunshine Coast Junior Rugby League has planned a return to competition for 2020.
Following a meeting between the Noosa Pirates club and Junior team Coaches and Managers, the U/13 to U/16 teams commenced training this week. It is anticipated the U/6 to U/12’s will return to training in the first week after school holidays (from July 13).
Updates with training times, dates and locations will be available of the club Facebook page and also the team pages.
GOOD NEWS FOR THE TIGERS
It has been a tough few months for the Noosa Tigers unsure whether they would get back on teh paddock this year to defend their 2019 premiership. Things are looking up however. There has been a positive response from current players to the return to training despite the restrictions.
In a boost to the club Brett Meredith, former Sydney Swans player Brett Meredith has signed up and is eager to help the club to back to back premierships.
The 31-year-old, midfielder made the move to teh Sunshine Coast last year and after canvassing a few other clubs settled on the Tigers as a good fit.
Meredith has that winning touch in 2018 and 2019 he played in back to back premiership sides with the Port Douglas Crocs.