ON-FIELD ACTION: U14s and U16s Collegians players have been given a new chance to play rugby league this season. Picture: Gerard Walsh
ON-FIELD ACTION: U14s and U16s Collegians players have been given a new chance to play rugby league this season. Picture: Gerard Walsh

SEASON SAVED: Collegians’ renewed hope for 2020

AFTER what appeared a season-ending cancellation of the Warwick and District Junior Rugby League, some of Warwick’s aspiring footy stars have been given a second chance.

As one of the only clubs voting for the Warwick league to go ahead despite coronavirus restrictions, Collegians Junior Football Club’s U14 and U16 teams were invited to join the Toowoomba Junior Rugby League.

Kicking off on July 25 with a shortened eight-round competition, Collegians coaching director and U14s coach Bob Bell said the league had renewed hope for dozens of Warwick footy’s up-and-comers.

“I’m keen, and the boys are really keen, to just to be able to get in and play again,” Bell said.

“We weren’t surprised (by the invite), but we were happy about it – (the TJRL) had a position to fill with the 16s, and they offered it to the 14s, too.

“We had enough numbers and we were happy to go, so it was a perfect fit, really.”

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Both Collegians teams will kick off their season with away games.

The U14s will take on the Toowoomba Valleys Roosters and the U16s are set to clash with the Dalby Devils.

Bell said both teams had been training hard in the lead-up to taking the field again in late July.

“ (TJRL) is a bigger pool of players, so I think they’ll be challenged – the Warwick and District competition is tough at the best of times,” he said.

“They come across the Toowoomba boys a fair bit in representative games and in school, but it’ll be a little bit different playing with their club mates.

“It’s been a hell of a year, so it’s just about getting kids out on the field and playing footy again.”

WDJRL president Deb Scanlan said despite the Southern Downs’ league being unable to go ahead this season, she was glad to see a few teams taking the field.

“Basically, when Warwick and District had voted ‘no’, the two clubs that had predominantly said yes were invited to be a part of the Toowoomba Junior Competition,” Scanlan said.

“So, both Stanthorpe and Collegians were asked if they could or wanted to field teams, and it ended up working out that only Collegians could put the 14s and 16s in.

“It’s still disappointing with all the restrictions that have now been lifted, because we probably could have had a competition but it just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

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