Lenane says COVID-19 'bigger than football' after season suspended

The Crookwell Green Devils' centenary celebrations will have to wait, as the 2020 George Tooke Shield has been suspended until early May.

Kicking off: The 2020 George Tooke Shield has been postponed until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Photo: Zac Lowe.

Kicking off: The 2020 George Tooke Shield has been postponed until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Photo: Zac Lowe.

Following a directive from Canberra Region Rugby League and NSWRL, the Green Devils will not play any matches or train due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Club president Paddy Lenane said the CRRL made the right call, and said "you'd have to be crazy not to agree with it".

"The health of your players and committee is paramount, and the spectators too."

Though the club is scheduled to hold its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2020, Lenane is not too worried about the prospect of the season being called off altogether.

"We had our centenary dinner organised, but I think everyone understands that this is bigger than football and any other sport," he said.

"We'll be disappointed if the season is cancelled altogether, but we'll just roll our centenary functions into next year."

Though there is as yet no sign that the whole season will be cancelled, NSWRL CEO David Trodden said the situation may change in coming weeks.

"Above all else, our priority is to protect the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and supporters, as well as the broader community," Trodden said.

"The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to change daily and we are very mindful of the need to be prepared, and take the practical, necessary measures required to maintain hygiene standards.

"The NSWRL will continue to actively monitor the situation and is committed to making decisions in relation to COVID-19 and its impact on Rugby League activity based on the advice from the Federal Government and other medical experts.

"The NSWRL will continue to provide updates on its position to the football community as the latest information becomes available."

Throughout the ever-changing situation with the coronavirus, Lenane said the Green Devils are trying to maintain perspective.

"We've got to get this thing under control, it's only a game of football in the end and people are losing their lives," he said.

"We're going to keep registering players in the hope that we do get some sort of season.

"If the season does kick off later in the year, they're going to give us a couple of weeks to get organised."

The club has also encouraged players to keep fit as much as possible in the interim, to ensure they are still ready to play should the season take place after the delay.

If local rugby league returns after the suspension ends on May 2, only the first two rounds will have been missed.

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