STAY positive, be open-minded and prepare to be innovative - that is the message from New South Wales Rugby League Western manager Peter Clarke.
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While news broke last Thursday afternoon that the NRL has proposed to resume matches in less than seven weeks, there still remains uncertainty as to what season 2020 will hold for community competitions.
Those competitions were suspended by NSW Rugby League until at least May 1 in response to the coronavirus.
While no return date has been set and that suspension period could be extended, Clarke is hopeful that Group 10, Group 11, the Mid West League, Woodbridge Cup, Castlereagh Cup and the other competitions which fall under the Western banner will go ahead.
"We are hopeful for sure; if we get the chance we will be doing what we can to get things on the park," Clarke said.
"We are optimistic. Obviously we'll be guided by the government and New South Wales Rugby League head office, but the administrators I've been talking to across the region are keen to do something.
"We are going to have to be innovative in how it looks, but definitely it is an important part of the community, so we want sport to prosper once again.
Clarke acknowledged that the impact of the coronavirus extended beyond the suspension of football, with many club sponsors and the players themselves taking a financial hit.
So he is urging everyone to try to remain positive.
"Everyone is taking a hit, there's no doubt about that at all. We won't know the real effects of it right now. Realistically all we can say is we can offer competitions and what that looks like we won't know until we can get a date and get the feelers out there," he said.
"But I'm sure if all the administrators across the region - seniors and juniors - are open-minded about what we can do, we will get some footy on the park this year.
"We just want to stay positive, we all need to be positive, so when we get the chance we'll be ready.
"In the meantime we've just got to stay safe, follow advice, keep our distance and the longer we do that and the better we do that in the meantime, the better chance we are of getting back on the sporting field."
The NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said his organisation is optimistic that community football will resume in some capacity.
"We have had some really positive news over the last week or so with the number of additional coronavirus cases registered in NSW; you'd be aware that those numbers are decreasing on a daily basis," Trodden said.
"That gives us some real confidence that we'll be able to get competitions going again in some form during the course of this season.
"I meet at least on a weekly basis with all of the state sporting organisations in NSW, and certainly all of the winter sports are looking to agree on a single date to recommence all sport in NSW.
"They all share the optimism that we have about getting sport happening in NSW in the very near future."
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