LOCKED IN: Return dates for winter sporting codes

AS WE emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, community sport is as important as ever in helping us return to the lives we know and love.

After the NSW Government announced a return date for all community sport on July 1, here’s where each code stands.

FOOTBALL

PHYSICAL BATTLE: Westlawn Tigers' Jaz Busch takes on his Coffs Coast Tigers opponent in the under-16 North Coast Football zone final at Barnier Park last year.
PHYSICAL BATTLE: Westlawn Tigers' Jaz Busch takes on his Coffs Coast Tigers opponent in the under-16 North Coast Football zone final at Barnier Park last year.

FOOTBALL has been one of the more efficient codes as they emerge from the COVID-19 break and as a result, will be the first code back with games from Friday, July 3.

NETBALL

Northside's Paige Tilse in the Division 6 GNA netball grand final between City Rubies and Northside Stars at Westward Park last year.
Northside's Paige Tilse in the Division 6 GNA netball grand final between City Rubies and Northside Stars at Westward Park last year.

GRAFTON and Lower Clarence Netball Associations have moved quickly to provide what is almost a full season, excluding finals, for their senior and junior sides.

Netball will also return this weekend, with games in Maclean and Grafton from Saturday morning, July 4.

RUGBY LEAGUE

South Grafton captain Luke Welch is stopped in his tracks by Dylan Collett and Todd Cameron of the Ghosts the 1st grade qualifying semi-final between Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels at Frank McGuren field.
South Grafton captain Luke Welch is stopped in his tracks by Dylan Collett and Todd Cameron of the Ghosts the 1st grade qualifying semi-final between Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels at Frank McGuren field.

A HEAVY cloud of doubt remains over the 2020 Group 2 season after a dramatic week off the field, but the Group 1 and Group 2 juniors are aiming for a July 18 return to play.

Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League is looking to follow a similar blueprint, but are yet to confirm any fixtures.

RUGBY UNION

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Grafton Redmen president Guy Robertson initially had reservations about entering a side in the Far North Coast Rugby Zone this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Grafton Redmen president Guy Robertson initially had reservations about entering a side in the Far North Coast Rugby Zone this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHILE Yamba Buccaneers have pulled their senior team from the Far North Coast Rugby competition this year, junior Buccaneers, Grafton Redmen and Iluka Cossacks are still interested.

Much like junior rugby league, rugby union competitions have set a July 18 return date to give time for sides to prepare for the contact sport.

HOCKEY

Junior Hockey action between Under 9 Sailors Sharks (blue) v Barbs Bad Boys (white) last season.
Junior Hockey action between Under 9 Sailors Sharks (blue) v Barbs Bad Boys (white) last season.

GRAFTON Hockey Association has had a tough time securing the numbers for the 2020 season, but they are ready to go with all their precautions in place.

Senior competition will commence on Friday, July 17, while the juniors will play a shortened competition fitting into term 3 of school, starting on July 23.

AUSSIE RULES

BOUNCING BACK: The Coffs Breakers defeated the Grafton Tigers in the 2018 youth girls AFL grand final, before the Tigers hit back last year.
BOUNCING BACK: The Coffs Breakers defeated the Grafton Tigers in the 2018 youth girls AFL grand final, before the Tigers hit back last year.

NORTH Coast AFL has been quiet over the break, but last week they announced a July 19 return with a 10 round competition set to take place.

BASKETBALL

Destiny Waldron dribbles up-court against Lismore Storm during the North Coast Shield tournament in Grafton on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Destiny Waldron dribbles up-court against Lismore Storm during the North Coast Shield tournament in Grafton on Sunday, September 8, 2019.

NOMINATIONS are still open until August for North Coast Shield Basketball, who have worked hard to lock in a six-part season schedule catering to junior players of all ages.

Byron Bay will host the opening round for the under-16s on August 30, while Yamba will host the under-10s and under-12s and Grafton host the under-14 boys on October 18.

The finals series will finals series will be played at Ballina on Sunday, November 22.

SURFING

SPRAY IT: Young Wooli surfer Carly Shanahan has put in a stellar performance at her third big competition in as many weeks, coming second in a past NSW State Junior Surfing Titles.
SPRAY IT: Young Wooli surfer Carly Shanahan has put in a stellar performance at her third big competition in as many weeks, coming second in a past NSW State Junior Surfing Titles.

CLARENCE Valley and Coffs Coast surfers won’t need to wait too much longer, with the Woolworths NSW Junior State Titles returning to Coffs Harbour from August 5-12.



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