Dramatic about face: Ipswich footy set to return in 2020
"IT'S not over for the year. That's changing very rapidly. There's still hope''.
With those words, Rugby League Ipswich chairman Gary Parker has confirmed plans are underway to revitalise this year's senior and junior competitions.
Matches could kick off in the first week of August, subject to some vital meetings over the next week.
After earlier calling an end to any footy this year, Ipswich officials have been given a lifeline to conduct a 10-week competition.
That comes after funding was secured by the Queensland Rugby League from the Australian Rugby League Commission, and from the SEQ to help out with referees, video fees and insurance.
"It is to run an A-Grade comp or something similar in Ipswich,'' Parker said.
"So I went back to the clubs and put it to the vote - what do you want to do (on Monday).
"I've got all the responses in now from the seniors and basically four want to play and two don't.''
Parker said Goodna, Swifts, West End and Norths had expressed interest in fielding senior and junior teams.
"We could do a comp with four,'' Parker said, open to including an outside team.
"There's still hope there will be a senior and junior competition of some proportion, with arrangements to be made and finalised in the next couple of weeks.''
The RLI chairman said the make-up of competitions and future directions would be discussed at a board meeting on Monday night.
Parker is also planning to meet with senior clubs again next week before reviewing what shape a junior competition might take.
It will be up to clubs if they want to play at their home grounds or use the North Ipswich Reserve.
With players now able to be separated under COVID-19 restrictions, Parker hoped clubs could run some canteens and welcome back spectators under the four square metre separation rule.
"That makes a difference if you can open a canteen and make a couple of dollars,'' he said.
However, all the issues need to be finalised in next week's discussions.
"It has been a tough time,'' Parker said, reflecting on the currently changing environment.
"Basically SEQ, through QRL, is keen to get as many country clubs get going - to give the kids a go.''
Parker said he would outline future plans after next week's discussions.