First game of 2020 rugby union creates ‘buzz’ around town
EAGER rugby union players will make their way onto the fields this weekend for the first round of the 2020 Arcadian Organic Shield.
Central Highlands Rugby Union secretary Josh Bell said it was an exciting time after months of uncertainty about whether the 2020 competition would happen at all.
"There's certainly a keenness about and player numbers are really up this year," Mr Bell said.
Coronavirus restrictions have postponed many sports across the country, with non-contact training only being re-allowed in Queensland in June, followed by contact sports this month.
Although CHRU was relatively unaffected, it didn't come through totally unscathed with some teams unable to recruit full teams.
Mr Bell said it had become a four-team competition after the 2019 champions, Clermont Bushpigs, withdrew due to a lack of numbers.
Kicking off the first round of the competition today, the Capella Cattledogs will take on the Blackwater Basilisks at Capella while the Moranbah Bulls verse the Emerald Rams at Moranbah.
While there haven't been many changes on the field, game days will run differently to ensure it all complies with social distancing requirements.
Clubs will be required to keep a register of all players and spectators in attendance, also creating designated entry and exit points while maintaining general hygiene practises.
Some clubs will also use online check-in to make the process quicker for guests.
Capella Cattledogs president Rod Green said the first home game had created a "bit of buzz" around town.
"It looked like nothing was going to go ahead but there was a bit of excitement as restrictions eased at the end June," he said.
"We can't wait to get on the paddock and start playing some footy."
Mr Green encouraged locals to head to games to cheer on the teams, while ensuring all health directives were followed.
"It's great to have a bit of live sport around again. And the way things are, who knows what could happen," he said.
Clubs will be hosting crowds but there are restrictions on numbers and all attendees have to register at the designated entry points.
"We ask all visitors to please be respectful, adhere to social distancing and help clubs comply with the COVID-19 guidelines set out by the Queensland Government."
The Capella game will kick-off at 6pm with the Moranbah game from 4pm.