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Volunteers key to return to play

The return of Community Rugby League competition next month would not be possible without the generous support of volunteers and one club in Sydney’s west is leading the way with an influx of volunteers to help with a COVID-safe return to play from 18 July.

More than 40 volunteers at Doonside Junior Rugby League club have put their hand up to get involved and help get their children back on the field training and preparing for the competition to commence.

The influx in volunteers has been welcomed with open arms by the club and the NSWRL, who have been working closely with Junior League clubs and their volunteers to educate and appoint COVID Safety Officers to ensure participants can take the field and remain healthy and safe in doing so

“In the past we have had nine, maybe 12, volunteers show up on education nights,” said Doonside JRL Club Secretary Rob McKinlay.

“For COVID training we had all 35 coaches put their hands up, even volunteers from outside the club came to help.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to ensure we are ready to play regardless of the return to play date, reassuring our members that we are 100 per cent preparing for a return to Rugby League.

“I say it all the time but ‘let them play’ is more than just a hashtag to our club.”

Volunteers are at the heart of the game, playing an integral role in Rugby League and now, more than ever, the game needs volunteers to help work through the challenges of playing in the COVID-modified environment.    

Assistant Secretary Jarrad Whitby completed the COVID-19 action plan for Doonside JRL putting them in a position to take the field the moment the Government and Councils allowed a return to play.

During COVID-19 pandemic, the club has rallied the community together having gained more help than they have seen in past seasons.

Doonside JRL COVID Coordinator Robyn McKinlay, was not involved in Rugby League or the club prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, however hearing of the game being on hold, volunteered her time to allow her nephew to play football in 2020.

“We've had a local high school teacher volunteer to coach our under 14 girls team from out of nowhere because she just wanted to help,” she said.

“We are just like every other junior sporting organisation in Australia, full of good people all trying our best for our kids.”