The annual Charity Shield between the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs and Cessnock Goannas has been postponed as NSW Rugby League has decided to delay the start of all competitions until mid-May.
Kurri Kurri Bulldogs president Daryl Chapman said plans for the Newcastle Rugby League season will be formally announced after a meeting tonight, but it was clear that the Charity Shield could not go ahead.
Hopefully we will be in a position to reschedule the event before the Newcastle RL competition resumes.
The annual Charity Shield between the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs and Cessnock Goannas may have to be spread over multiple days if it is to proceed at all.
Bulldogs president Daryl Chapman said under the coronavirus crowd restriction of 500 people the event could not continue in its traditional format of all teams from under-6 to first grade competing on the same day.
Sports administrators were facing a constantly changing environment with continued updates from their parent bodies as measures to combat the pandemic were stepped up.
The doubts over the hugely popular Charity Shield comes as the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union and Cessnock District Netball Association postponed their competition until May 2 under directives from their senior governing bodies.
The Maitland netball association had already delayed its season start until May 2 because of delays in work on their new courts.
Northern NSW Football was also set to follow the lead of Football South Australia and other Hunter sporting groups and postpone competitions to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Football Federation Australia announced on Monday morning that competitions at all levels were to continue under strict guidelines, including the advise that all non-essential personnel should not attend games.
NNSWF was set to hold a teleconference with clubs at 5.30pm on Tuesday to discuss the crisis, but it is understood the federation has already decided to postpone competitions and an announcement will come before the scheduled meeting.
Cessnock cricket squeezed their grand finals in just in time as Cricket Australia "strongly recommended" that all amateur cricket in Australia - from club cricket through to premier cricket - stop immediately.
It meant the Maitland cricket finished with just the finals to play in the grade and junior competitions and the one-day comp at the preliminary-final stage.
In relation to the Charity Shield, Chapman said one solution being investigated was to spread games over Saturday and Sunday to minimise the number of people - players included - gathered at one time.
He said the club would make a decision as soon as possible after they receive guidelines from the Newcastle Rugby League on how it plans to proceed with the 2020 season.
Chapman said the Bulldogs and other clubs could not afford to proceed with games being played without fans.