That's the end of the 2021 season for the Group 10 juniors

SEASON OFF: St Pat's White forward Will Kupkee makes a strong charge against St Pat's Blue in their under 12s clash earlier this season. The junior season is officially over. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW
SEASON OFF: St Pat's White forward Will Kupkee makes a strong charge against St Pat's Blue in their under 12s clash earlier this season. The junior season is officially over. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

IT wasn't the way it was meant to finish, but Group 10's junior governing body has decided to bring an end to the season.

Citing the stay-at-home orders still in place across the majority of the region and the NSW Government's decision to not allow community sport until 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, Group 10 Junior Rugby League announced the abandonment of its season via its Facebook page on Friday afternoon.

While it was disappointing the junior competitions were unable to finish, president Martin Power said he was grateful that the clubs got to play a majority of the season.

"We were hoping to have the grand finals all done and dusted, but we were lucky that we got 12 rounds in the end," he said.

"We had one round of semi-finals and even that was problematic with some of the LGAs being locked down. That was the worst thing with the different LGAs. Mudgee is open, but Bathurst, Blayney and Orange isn't."

Power said the clubs have been supportive through what has been a difficult period.

"The clubs have done amazingly well to get the season finished," he said.

"They understand the situation, but it looks like some of the areas will be locked down for a while, unfortunately.

"We can't go any later because we just don't have the grounds after the summer sports start.

"We just appreciate the effort of all the clubs and executive members to try and get it done. It's just out of our control with the government's decision."

While junior rugby league will remain resilient, this is the second consecutive season the sport has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year the start of the season was pushed back with a shortened campaign, while this year no finals were able to be played.

Power is confident that the sport can stay strong in the future.

"I think the clubs are proactive and they'll keep going with it, but it's not easy for clubs and referees," he said.

"If you continually have time off, you'll find other things to do. It can be a bit of a concern."

Across all junior grades, only minor premierships were awarded, with the Bathurst Panthers under 16s team the only Bathurst-based team to claim the title.