Community-minded Jets work through ongoing crisis
RUGBY LEAGUE: Football is taking a backward step at the Ipswich Jets after the spread of coronavirus forced the QRL to suspend the Intrust Super Cup until June 6.
Pre-empting Wednesday's announcement, coach Keiron Lander called off training on Tuesday for two weeks. His players will now be out of commission until April 28 at the earliest, however, with the QRL banning training until a review on April 28.
Lander said priorities had changed for both the club and the wider community.
"There are more concerning things for our players and families to worry about like people's health, jobs, following the directives from health professionals and departments, and staying together and helping others," he said.
"We should be reaching out to old people and not being part of this ridiculous panic, supporting the kids and practising good hygiene."
In his first season in charge, Lander had much to look forward to but now he is resigned to the stark reality the season might not resume if the coronavirus trajectory mirror trends overseas.
With no organised training, the Jets have stopped short of placing players on individual programs. Instead, Lander has faith his players know how to stay fit and he has urged them to take care of themselves, their families and the community.
"Some will do their own gym and running," he said.
"If and when the season kicks off we know what it takes to get in shape.
"It will take four weeks and we'll be back in shape to be competitive, so I'm not concerned. I hope this passes and the season turns around but I'm aware that 2020 is probably finished. It's definitely disappointing. 2020 looked exciting for our players, debutants, new staff, Richard and his team which is doing great work and it is also my first coaching opportunity.
"2020 looked amazing only a week a go and now to see what has happened, it is just disbelief. The players are thinking is this real. They've never had to face this before."
Lander said his troops hoped the pandemic turned quickly but the evidence suggested otherwise.
He said when faced with such extreme crisis people often underestimated the danger or wrongfully attributed it to conspiracy but they needed to take the threat seriously.
"It won't be bad until one of our players' family members gets it and dies," he said.
Lander said a sustained co-ordinated effort was needed to slow transmission and ensure the most vulnerable members of society were supported, including remote Aboriginal communities which were not equipped to cope.
He said he was also concerned for the local economy and the many small businesses who supported the club.
"We thank them and hope that they stick with us into next season if it is a non-competition year," he said.