Brahmans unlikely to play behind closed doors

THE manager of the Whitsunday Brahmans says the club is in a “holding pattern” as the coronavirus pandemic throws the future of the 2020 season into more doubt.

In March, Queensland Rugby League suspended all games and banned all teams from training inside club gyms or on local fields until the end of April, as part of the ongoing situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This suspension has since been extended, with June 1 the current date that play could theoretically be resumed.

However, Brahmans’ club manager Bryce Fraser said they were no closer to seeing a concrete restart date and it was likely the date would be pushed back again.

“It’s a game of wait and see at the moment,” he said.

“We’re hoping for a final call on if there will be a restart date for the season soon so we can plan.

“It’s a weird time. We can’t gather to train and we can’t even gather the committee, all of our conversations have been over Zoom.”

Fraser said it was “very unlikely” the Mackay district would follow the NRL’s lead and play without crowds.

With a majority of the club’s income coming from match day takings – including ticket sales and drink and canteen purchases – they could also be disadvantaged by a potentially shortened season.

However, the income model could allow the club to come through the other side of COVID-19 better than others in the district.

“It’s hard to tell, we’re not in as deep as some other clubs so it could mean if it comes back and people are allowed and want to see the footy we’re not relying on other means for income,” he said.

“I would say none of the other clubs would agree to playing without crowds like the NRL. It just wouldn’t work.

“This was shaping up to be one of the best seasons in a long time, and potentially the most interesting and exciting competition in Queensland.

“The long and the short of it is we’re waiting for the next move to know where we’re at, but that won’t be known until likely the end of May.”

The club has lost players who have been forced out of work or returned to their home country.

Players are still training hard in isolation in case the season returns this year – at least that’s what they’re telling the club.

“They’re telling us they’re still training and keeping fit but who knows,” Fraser joked.