St George will not play rugby league this year, after the committee decided they would not be able to do things ‘150 per cent by the rules’.
St George will not play rugby league this year, after the committee decided they would not be able to do things ‘150 per cent by the rules’.

‘Not viable’: 101-year-old club pulls out of season

RUGBY LEAGUE: For the first time in 101 years, there will be no rugby league played at Rowden Park this year, after the St George committee made the decision to officially pull their teams out of the 2020 Roma and District Rugby League season.

It comes as RDRL president Peter Flynn remains uncertain about what the season would look like, and the canning of the Toowoomba and District Rugby League season all together.

St George president Kelvin Bella said the decision hadn't been easy, but the safety of the players, committee and spectators was paramount.

"It was a tough decision, but there is too much uncertainty. I congratulate all our committee for taking the stance because I believe we have made the right decision," Bella said.

"If you can't do something 150 per cent, there's no point in doing it. And we wouldn't be able to do t hat under the new QRL rules.

"The reality is, under the new QRL handbook, we're only allowed 100 people at the venue, that includes our players, support staff and committee, which could easily add up to 80 people.

"Then we'd only be allowed 15 or 20 spectators, which just isn't viable."

Bella said there was a significant financial burden if the club was to play this year.

"The rules are not achievable for the club to go ahead without losing money, and that is one reason," Bella said.

"But there is also safety. If we can't commit to doing things 150 per cent by the rules, then we can't do it.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty in the league and I would rather make the decision now. This way we can look ahead to next year."

Bella said maybe the QRL should re-evaluate the way footy seasons would look under coronavirus restrictions.

"We would be out $20K from travelling and having home games where we're not able to make money, so if we had that assistance that would be great, but even still we're concerned about safety and doing things right,"' he said.

"It's not good enough, and I hope the players understand that we are doing the right thing by them.

"We would love to be playing in our 101st year, but we're not walking away easy. This isn't just about finances, it's the reality of playing in the pandemic not being viable.

"We are doing this for our community, our spectators and sponsors."

The Roma and District Rugby League will meet next week to decide the future of this year's season.