While Peter V’Landys, the NRL and their players dominate the sports pages of most news publications there is plenty happening in the realms of other sports.
Indian international cricketer Suresh Raina has thrown a cat among the pigeons this week in cricket circles urging India to soften its stance on releasing players to foreign Twenty20 competitions, such as the Big Bash League (of course that would be dependent on a relaxation of the current Australian border restrictions).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has currently blocked any active male player under its umbrella, regardless of whether they have a national contract or are close to national selection, from joining a franchise outside the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Meanwhile Indian captain Virat Kohli says that although he will miss “magical” atmosphere if games are played in empty stadiums during the summer series between Australia and India it would not dampen the competitive side of the matches.
Boris Johnson may have cleaned bowled Australia’s White Ball tour of the UK after the British PM put the brakes on any imminent return for professional sport in the country putting Australia’s upcoming tour in serious doubt.
Meanwhile the Men’s T20 World Cup, set to be played in Australia in October must be on shaky turf.
Cricket Australia could be facing millions of dollars in lost revenue if the Test series against India and the World Cup go ahead in empty stadiums.
Horse racing seems to be the one sport handling the constraints of this pandemic best.
With strict rules in place some local riders are benefiting from opportunities that have come their way during the autumn carnivals. Punters have becoming familiar with the names and talents of some previously over-looked riders especially in South Australia. Under normal circumstances visiting interstate jockeys plunder top rides during the autumn.
Still on the racing scene, the laconic Peter Moody, one of Queensland’s favourite racing sons, made a successful return to the training ranks more than four years after walking away from training. Moody had not saddled up a runner since March 2016 when he won the Group One William Reid Stakes
It was a much different scene when Shepherd, his first runner since returning to training saluted last Sunday at Ballarat. Fittingly the Moody owned galloper was piloted by Black Caviar’s regular rider Luke Nolen.
Ballarat and Shepherd may have been a far cry from Black Caviar and the pomp and fan fare associated with Royal Ascot but I bet there was a lot less pressure and a very deep sense of satisfaction associated with the win.
Punters and racing devotees across Australia are pleased to see this master trainer back where he belongs. It’s one bright spot on a fairly dismal sporting landscape.
RUGBY LEAGUE ON THE HORIZON
Rugby League tragics are counting down to the restart of the NRL season later this month however Community Rugby League remains suspended until at least 1 June.
The strict conditions and protocols that the NRL has agreed to adhere to, which allow for the recommencement of the game are well beyond both the financial and operational capacity of Community Leagues.
Although the Pirates are ready and raring to go the burning question for them like all all clubs is “Will or can Community Rugby League return in 2020?”
The State Government has adopted the recently released AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport as the preferred road map for the return to community sports in the state.
In response to this the QRL Region managers and chairs met last week to discuss the possible return of Community Rugby League in Queensland.
It is understood that rugby league officials are keen to commence competition around the 11-12 July.
The QRL has indicated that using the guidelines provided by the AIS any return would come in three stages. The QRL will also be required to develop guidelines and protocols specific to Community Rugby League and present them to the State Government and the Chief Medical Officer for endorsement.
While there has been talk of competitions commencing in July, the QRL will only be able to forecast possible return dates once they receive these endorsements.
In addition to start dates and competition structures for individual leagues, discussions will be required around the associated costs such as insurance with the QRL focusing on the sustainability of all leagues and clubs not only this season but into 2021 and beyond.
The three levels set out by the AIS road map provide a general guide to the gradual return to training and competition.
Progression through the levels will require government approval and the easing of current restrictions relating to social isolation, movement and social gatherings. All of these requirements monitored by club and league administrators. The wellbeing of players, volunteers, families and the wider community remains the QRL’s uppermost priority.
In the meantime all players, senior and junior are urged to keeping fit and to focus on keeping fit and healthy and where possible to train in pairs while adhering to the current social distancing regulations.
The AIS three step guidelines for a return to community sport
Activity that can be conducted by a solo athlete or by pairs where at least 1.5m can always be maintained between participants. No contact between athletes and/or other personnel. Examples for all sports – general fitness aerobic and anaerobic (e.g. running, cycling sprints, hills). Strength and sport-specific training permitted if no equipment required, or have access to own equipment (e.g. ergometer, weights). Online coaching and resources (e.g. videos, play books).
Community Rugby League Specific
Rugby League Running/aerobic/agility training (solo), resistance training (solo), skills training (solo) including kicking, passing, ball skills (e.g. against wall) to self.
As per Level A plus: Indoor/outdoor activity that can be conducted in small groups (not more than 10 athletes and/or other personnel in total) and with adequate spacing (not more than 1 person per 4m2 ). Some sharing of sporting equipment permitted such as kicking a football, hitting a tennis ball, use of a skipping rope, weights, mats. Non-contact skills training. Accidental contact may occur but no deliberate body contact drills. No wrestling, holding, tackling or binding. Commercial gyms, boot camps, yoga, Pilates, dance classes (e.g. barre, ballet, hip hop, not partnered), cycling ‘spin’ classes permitted if other measures (above) are met.
Community Rugby League Specific
Skill drills using a ball, kicking and passing. No tackling/wresting. Small group (not more than 10 athletes/staff in total) sessions.
As per Level B plus: Full sporting activity that can be conducted in groups of any size including full contact (competition, tournaments, matches). Wrestling, holding, tackling and/or binding (e.g. rugby scrums) permitted. For larger team sports, consider maintaining some small group separation at training. For some athletes full training will be restricted by commercial operation of facilities.
Level A Running/aerobic/agility training (solo), resistance training (solo), skills training (solo) including kicking, passing, ball skills (e.g. against wall) to self.
Level B Skill drills using a ball, kicking and passing. No tackling/wresting. Small group (not more than 10 athletes/staff in total) sessions.
Community Rugby League Specific
Full training and competition.
SIPP WAITING FOR MOTORSPORT TO REV UP
Jack Sipp is keenly watching and waiting for Australian motorsport to emerge from its slumber and rev up.
Sipp is the Erebus Academy’s newest recruit and is excited to be joining the squad in the Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series when racing returns.
The 25-year old has signed on to race with the team’s affiliate Image Racing for his second year in the category, having previously raced for Paul Morris Motorsport.
Sipp has experience in a variety of categories including Formula Ford, the Queensland Gemini Series, Formula 4, Australian Rally Cross and most recently Touring Cars.
“I’m really excited to be part of such a big name in the sport, I finally get the chance I’ve been working so hard for,” Sipp said recently.
Sipp who has self funded most of his career to date is looking to maximize this opportunity and explore his full potential as a driver with the support of the Erebus Academy and Image Racing.
He says he is looking forward to driving a competitive car and showing what he knows she is capable of. “I’ve put in the work and now I’m going to get results.”
Erebus Motorsport’s CEO Barry Ryan says he is looking forward to seeing Sipp progress as a driver.
Ryan said “Jack had a test earlier in the year and shows a lot of potential and I think with our support he will be able to progress into the driver we know he can become. “We’re looking forward to helping him reach his goals and give him the tools he needs to succeed.”
Though there is no word on when the V8 Touring Car calendar will resume, the team hope to see Sipp beginning his journey with the Erebus Academy and Image Racing sooner rather than later.
The Erebus Academy launched their Creating Pathways program in November 2019. The specialist program is aimed at providing tailored mentoring, marketing and management support to young racing drivers with the assistance of the Erebus Academy and its program partners.
There will be no-one more excited than Jack Sitt when Motorsport roars back to life.
Students, staff and parents from Catholic Colleges across the Sunshine Coast will be disappointed to hear that the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Rugby League has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Confraternity Carnival because of uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 crisis.
It will be the first time the famous carnival has not been played since its inaugural year in 1980.
“This was a particularly difficult decision but, with the sensible measures that governments have put in place and the uncertainty of the months ahead, we were left with no choice,” the QISSRL committee spokesperson said.
“We desperately wanted to play this year, mindful of how much this Carnival means to its players and schools, particularly for those players in Year 12.
“Confraternity Carnival will be back in 2021. In the meantime, we send out best wishes to all Year 12 students for their final year of school.”
The committee announced Iona College, which was preparing to host this year’s carnival from Monday, June 29 to Friday, July 3, would now host next year’s event.
The 40th Confraternity Carnival in Bundaberg
QISSRL president and Padua College Rector Peter Elmore said, “The Carnival has grown in size since it was first contested in 1980 but it remains an event in which sportsmanship, respect and fellowship are most highly valued.”
“We are proud of the many Catholic schools and players who have contested this event over the decades.
“While there is a great list of former Confro players who have gone on to the game’s highest levels, we’re just as proud of the manner in which the Carnival is played.”
Confraternity Carnival graduates over the years have included Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and Cameron Munster among dozens of other Maroons and Kangaroo stars.