Rugby League: Group 21 calls full-time on Upper Hunter senior competition amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions

FINAL CALL: Scone captain-coach Adam Clydsdale training with the Knights in 2015. Picture: Jay Cronan
FINAL CALL: Scone captain-coach Adam Clydsdale training with the Knights in 2015. Picture: Jay Cronan

The last of the region's rugby league competitions has been officially cancelled with Group 21 seniors now over for the year.

Upper Hunter officials released a statement on Tuesday, following a Group 21 board meeting and club vote, saying the decision to abandon the rest of the season wasn't "taken lightly".

It follows the Hunter's coronavirus lockdown extension by the NSW government last week.

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"We would like to thank all clubs, participants, officials and volunteers for their participation in what has been a fantastic 2021 season," Group 21 chairperson Simon Walmsley said.

"We have had a great season and have been very fortunate to get as much of the season in that we have. We also recognise the difficulty around 'return to play' protocols, field availability and players moving on to summer sports in October.

"We appreciate the efforts and understanding of all stakeholders around this as it was not a decision that was taken lightly but one that had to be made with the uncertainty surrounding the situation with COVID-19 and any easing of restrictions.

"I thank all stakeholders for their attempts to get rugby league back on the field, urge everyone to stay safe and adhere to the COVID-19 safety guidelines, and look forward to their return in 2022."

Play had been on hold since the start of August with the last two rounds later called COVID draws and just a top-four finals series remaining.

Last year's competition didn't go ahead because of COVID-19.

The Thoroughbreds won the most recent grand final in the men's main grade in 2019.

Group 21 juniors were cancelled last month.

Newcastle Rugby League, Newcastle Hunter (seniors), Newcastle, Maitland and Hunter Valley (juniors) have also called full-time recently.

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This story Upper Hunter competition over for 2021 first appeared on Newcastle Herald.