Save our game: Ipswich coach wants footy back
Brothers A-Grade coach Jason Connors believes footballers must take pay cuts, play for love of the game and tribal pride to keep rugby league alive.
Like all clubs the reigning RLI premiers are currently shutdown.
"There is nothing going on," Connors who is also Brothers development officer said bluntly highlighting the lack of activity at their typically thriving Raceview base.
"No (leagues) club."
The absence of sport has created a gaping hole in the lives of many who are already stressed by the pandemic and subsequent economic catastrophe.
As diehards fill the void viewing grand final replays, and others devoted to the game lose their minds as they wonder what to do with all this newfound time on their hands, it has become increasingly clear that rugby league is more than just a pastime in this part of the country.
The resumption of footy this year would be a reassuring signal that life was returning to normal and a psychological victory for residents in need of a morale boost.
That's why Connors wants nothing more than to see Rugby League Ipswich up and running as soon as it is safe.
"At the moment you can't even shake someone's hand," he said frustrated by the stark reality caused by the coronavirus.
"I want to see rugby league back.
"We need to play to show all of the people out there that sport is back and life is back.
"We need to get the game back on - the contest, the camaraderie, the friendships and the social aspect afterwards.
"That's what I want back."
The QRL has left the door open for RLI to hold a shortened season which would extend deep into September.
While Connors does not know if or when the league will get the go ahead, he has instructed his troops to be prepared to play whenever they are called upon.
"The players have to turn up in peak condition," he said.
"It is the ones who are in shape that will get picked."
Should the RLI proceed, it is possible the Ipswich Jets top squad will be divided among the local outfits.
A former Intrust Super Cup player, Connors said Brothers would welcome the Jets' involvement if they were assigned equitably to all RLI clubs, including the powerhouses.
"I don't have a problem with it but they would need to be allocated evenly to every team, so no one misses out," he said.
RLI clubs are bracing for financial difficulties and Brothers are no different with the Leagues Club out of operation.
Connors said with funding reduced the football club was in a similar situation to rivals and would rely heavily on sponsors but players faced inevitable pay cuts.
He said they would need to play for love of the game and show loyalty to their clubs to breathe life back into the sport.
"The players have got to come back for those reasons," he said.
"They will need to play for their jersey and not so much the money.
"They have to value friendships more than the dollar. That's what they are going to have to do.
"The ones who are passionate about their clubs will do that."
Connors said despite lasting interclub rivalries the rugby league community was united.
He said he backed all the clubs, hoped they remained viable through the turbulent period and issued an impassioned call to arms.
"Let's get back on the field," he said.
"We are all one in rugby league.
"Let's get back out there and ensure the future of the game."