Though local sporting fixtures will resume from next month, the Goulburn Bulldogs will not take to the field.
In a Facebook post published on June 18, the Bulldogs announced that their 2020 season is over.
"Due to the uncertainty of the timing, competition structure, and procedural protocals, the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs, have along with other Canberra Region Rugby League Clubs decided to withdraw all 4 grades from this years CRRL Competition," the club said.
Goulburn now joins the Yass Magpies, Queanbeyan Kangaroos, Belconnen United Sharks, West Belconnen Warriors, and the Tuggeranong Bushrangers on the sidelines.
This leaves only the Queanbeyan Blues, Woden Rams, and Gungahlin Bulls remaining in the competition.
Goulburn Bulldogs first grade head coach, Adam Kyle, said the decision to defer the 2020 season was not made lightly.
"These are ongoing talks we've had throughout the whole club for probably two or three months now," Kyle said.
"About a month ago, a lot of the group started to lose a bit of that interest and hunger to play, knowing that it's coming into June.
"We'd heard a few other clubs had pulled out, and that made it really difficult.
"A few of the players felt like 'what was the point' if we were playing against three other teams."
Kyle added that the issue of injury had become a significant factor for many of the players.
Only the first grade teams are paid to play in the CRRL competitions. Therefore, any physical ailments could have forced lower-grade players out of their day-to-day jobs and a source of income during the pandemic.
"A lot of the playing group mentioned that the risk of playing was too much, compared to their risk of losing work," Kyle said.
Without regular training sessions and match fitness to prepare the Bulldogs, Kyle knew the risk of injury was much greater than it normally would have been.
But there are still avenues available for those determined to get on the field in 2020.
Players may turn out for other teams this year, as Bulldogs veteran Michael Dodson has chosen to do for the Young Cherrypickers.
The players who do, however, are required to return to their clubs of origin in 2021.
This leniency, Kyle believes, will be beneficial for some of the younger, footy-mad players who live and breathe the sport.
"There's guys like Max Flack and Mitch Atkinson, if the Jersey Flegg goes to [an age limit of] 21 next year, they qualify," he said.
"They'll be desperately keen to play this year, to get some game time and hopefully get a trial for the Jersey Flegg side."
Meanwhile, Kyle said, the older players, coaching staff, and support staff have enjoyed the rare opportunity to spend more time with their families.
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