Jumping for joy

Lizards Junior Rugby League members jumping for joy over the prospect of a new grandstand are front, Imogen Hunt, Brooklyn Lyons and Sienna Lyons, and back, Karen Hunt, Lachlan Hunt, Jaida-Lee Lyons, Samuel Hunt, Ruben Bamblett and Shaun Lyons. Photo: Kim Woods.

A multitude of sporting groups in Narrandera are set to benefit from the construction of a new grandstand at the Henry Mathieson Oval. The Lizards Junior Rugby League Club secured a $14,000 grant under the Community Building Partnership Program, and is planning to have the grandstand built locally in time for the next season.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the sports and training facilities would be receiving well-earned upgrades so they could continue to be enjoyed by the Narrandera community.

“I am so pleased this project has secured funding from the Community Building Partnership program, which is all about developing places and spaces for the whole community,” Ms Cooke said. “Having fantastic facilities to pursue passions is so important, a huge congratulations to the Club for securing this funding, I can’t wait to see the finished product.”

Lizards Junior Rugby League secretary Karen Hunt said the grant would be a boost for players and spectators from a range of local clubs.

“The grandstand will benefit not only junior rugby league but also Narrandera Little Athletics Club, junior cricket and at times AFL,” Mrs Hunt said. “At the moment, spectators are forced to bring their own chairs or sit on the grass as there is no seating whatsoever.

“We are aiming to have the grandstand manufactured locally and be of a design which is easily moved around the ground.”

Mrs Hunt said the club originally applied for a grant to have a covered grandstand but missed out. The club has also applied through the St George Footy Grants.

Mrs Hunt said the club was hopeful the junior rugby league season could get underway in the region.

“Even if we could have an inter-town competition or a fun day with our kids at least the kids can get out and play a touch or tag game,” she said.

When it comes to senior footy, Lizards player Shaun Lyons said it was up to Group 20 to make a decision.

“I am quietly confident the season for the ProTen Community Cup will get underway in mid to late July,” he said. “If other teams decide they don’t want to join in then that could be a problem.”

Meanwhile the NSWRL has confirmed community football for children in competitions up to and including under 18 comps will resume in July.

The NSWRL has been working towards a re-start of modified and select competitions from July 18 and a return to full contact training from July 1, based on the advice of government and health authorities.

NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said it was exciting and welcome news for more than 80,000 girls and boys from 700 clubs across the state.

“This is a really positive outcome, not only for the Rugby League community, but the broader community and we are grateful the NSW Government has given the green light for a return to children’s sport,” Trodden said. “It is really important though that we all remain vigilant and adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines that have been set so we can all enjoy the return of sport for the long-term.”

Trodden said training (in groups of up to 10) can begin as soon as clubs have complied with the NSWRL’s COVID-19 regulations that have been developed in line with the Australian Government’s “Return to Sport” framework.

There has been no decision on adults returning to play, which means the senior NSWRL competitions – Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership and Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield – along with senior community football competitions, scheduled to re-start 18 July 2020, are still on hold, pending further advice.

“We remain hopeful that the NSW Government will also approve a return to play for adult teams in the very near future, recognising the central role that sport plays in our community and the positive impact that sport can have in recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” Trodden said.

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