Goannas wait on Newcatle RL meeting tonight on future of 2020 season

The Goannas will learn tonight how or whether the 2020 season proceeds.
The Goannas will learn tonight how or whether the 2020 season proceeds.

The Newcastle Rugby League board is to meet tonight to decide on how or whether the 2020 season should proceed.

There has been growing feeling among some quarters that the postponement of last weekend's rounds in the wake of Central Newcastle player Joel Dark's death may be an opportune time to finish the season altogether or perhaps bring forward the finals series to start this weekend based on ladder placings after round eight.

Dark, 19, died in John Hunter Hospital on Friday, five days since he was admitted in a critical condition, after collapsing on field during a first grade match against Western Suburbs at St John Oval.

Cessnock had been scheduled to play Maitland at the Maitland Sportsground last Saturday and will learn tomorrow whether those games will be rescheduled to this week to be part of the Picker's President Cup semi-final day against Hills Bulls or whether the season proceeds at all.

Goannas coach Todd Edwards said he could understand if the league decided to call an end to the season or bring forward finals given the circumstances.

Todd Edwards

Todd Edwards

"I certainly think it is going to be tough for Central to continue this season and everyone at Wests is pretty upset as well," he said.

Edwards said given the Newcastle RL has stated that premiers will not be recognised on the official league honour roll there was no real imperative for the season to be completed by a finals series. However, he said whatever happened form here the 2020 season had been of tremendous value going forward for the Goannas with a number of very promising young players emerging at senior level.

"We're going to take plenty out of the year, but if it has provided nothing else than an outlet and some focus for our players in a really trying time it has been worthwhile," he said.

"That alone has been worth the effort of everyone involved.

"Some of the kids got exposed probably 12 months earlier but they have hit the ground running and it leaves us in good stead for next season.

"Harrison Spruce, Harvey Neville and Joe Barber have all come through from our 19s and performed well. On top of that we have Tommy Baker, a kid from the Knights, who is only 20 and a great kid.

"Connor Kirkwood has been around a bit but has found his position at lock at this year and Reed Hugo has taken his leadership and game to a new level."