Even as the likelihood of continuing the 2021 season fades, the Goulburn Bears' Youth League Men's team remains hopeful.
The Bears have not played since late June due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Sydney, which has now caused lockdowns in an assortment of Local Government Areas in regional NSW as well.
Though Goulburn itself has not been locked down, a majority of the teams in Waratah League Youth Men's Division 2 are based in Sydney, making it impossible to continue the competition.
Initially, the goal was to play out the rest of the season in September. However, with a total of 344 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, Bears coach Eddie Teague believes it is unlikely the outbreak will pass before the start of next month.
"The bottom line is, NSW Basketball wanted to hold the competition in September," Teague said.
"As of a couple of days ago, they're still looking to go ahead if they're able.
"I think it's going to be really hard to get it off the ground. They're trying to get it done before the HSC starts, especially in the Youth League competitions. I think they're going to run out of time."
Should the worst happen and the competition be cancelled altogether, it will be the second time in as many years that the Bears have not played out a full season.
This, Teague said, would be a frustrating outcome for both himself and the players, but he understands the bind in which Basketball NSW finds itself.
"They're a nice bunch of kids, they just love going out there and playing," he said of the Bears players.
"But there's a point where we might have to say 'Sorry guys, they've pulled the pin on the comp.'
"We can train for next year, which they're quite happy to do, but it'd be nice to finish off what we started."
Although the door appears to be closing on the 2021 season, the Bears are still training and playing in the local competition.
Even if the Sydney teams remain locked down into September, Teague hopes to be able to play some matches against the other regional teams in the competition, namely Orange, Moss Vale, Queanbeyan, and Shoalhaven.
"We're up for anything basically, that's what we told Basketball NSW," Teague said.
"If we run a weekend and play four or five games over a weekend, sort of like the Country Championships they used to hold, we're up for it.
"We'll just have to wait and see I suppose."
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