SIRU has regrettably had to push the Juniors season back a week, due to the withdrawal of some clubs from the competition in 2020.
Albury-Wodonga withdrew on Friday evening (17th July), with the heavy pressure of being in the border region strongly contributing to their decision.
Following this, Wagga and Cootamundra withdrew on Monday (20th July), with a Zoom meeting held on Monday night with the SIRU Clubs and remaining Junior Club Presidents. Clubs were asked to provide a firm Club position by Tuesday (21st July) as to whether or not their Club wish to participate in the 2020 Junior Competition.
Fortunately nearly all Clubs have returned with a positive response already, only West Wyalong choosing to withdraw at this stage.
SIRU is planning to work with the Clubs on a new season format from Wednesday, with aims to announce it publicly on Friday 24th July and resume the season on Sunday 2nd August.
The Clubs who have withdrawn from the competition, will all continue to train in their own Club environment, with hopes of developing their core skills and camaraderie for the 2021 season. A positive step for both the Clubs and the game in our zone.
SIRU would like to once again applaud all Clubs in the zone for their work in being "COVID Compliant", it is due to their immense efforts that we have the opportunity to train and play community sport, and we look forward to seeing all of our Junior athletes playing on Sunday 2nd August.
With the 2020 SIRU Junior Season to kick off in just over a week, the final spread of locations, dates, and which clubs will travel where has been set.
Each Gala Day has been split into three locations to assist with managing COVID-19 Social Distancing requirements. All clubs have been working really hard over recent months with the SIRU office to keep themselves compliant, and will now continue a lot of these processes as they head around the zone to compete.
With the reduced teams and reduced travel, the 2020 season will be non-competitive across all age grades, with a focus on participation and enjoyment.
SIRU is excited that the proposal for Girls Tackle was successful this year, with 13 teams competing in 2020.
With the reduction in season length for both the SIRU Senior and Junior Competitions for 2020, the SIRU Board agreed at their July meeting that Association/Affiliation Fees would be reduced by 50% in 2020. This will see the savings passed on directly to the players in the Junior Competition, and will greatly assist Clubs in the Senior Competition. Clubs are charged an annual affiliation fee to participate in the competition which assists SIRU with the costs associated with running the competitions, representative programs and development programs in schools throughout the calendar year.
With some SIRU activities on hold or reduced due to COVID-19, President Warwick Grant hopes the reduction in affiliation fees will assist Clubs, particularly the smaller clubs, and their members during this difficult time for community sport. The impact for many clubs has been significant across the board; players have been impacted with job losses, clubs have been unable to field teams, conduct fund raisers or honour sponsorship arrangements. The response from Clubs to having a revised competition in 2020 has been very positive and has supported SIRU with their efforts to have a rugby competition, and this is another way SIRU is able to assist.
The reductions will take effect by the end of the week. SIRU will be communicating with Clubs over the coming days.