The Illawarra Division Rugby League (IRL) is pleased to announce the inaugural South32 Illawarra Women’s League will commence this weekend despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on many sporting competitions and clubs across the country.
Defending premiers Corrimal, grand finalists Helensburgh and a combined Avondale/Windang side will compete for the inaugural South32 Illawarra Women’s League title.
Milton-Ulladulla, Stingrays of Shellharbour, Corrimal and Dapto will field teams in U18’s, while six teams will take part in the South32 Women’s League Tag competition.
“South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal is proud to sponsor the Illawarra Women’s League and I wish all the players the very best of luck,” said South32 IMC Vice President Operations Wayne Bull.
“We are passionate about supporting the communities where we live and we have a strong partnership with the Illawarra Rugby League, having previously sponsored its junior and senior men’s competitions.
“The number of women playing rugby league in the Illawarra has risen significantly over the past few years and I hope, with our help, that continues to grow.”
Gerry Murphy, Chairman, IRL Board of Management expressed his gratitude for South32’s support.
“We were very pleased earlier this year when South32 decided to get behind our female competitions,” Murphy said.
“Support from organisations like South32 is more important now than ever, given the impact of Covid-19 on communities everywhere.
“We’ve already seen other areas make the tough call to abandon their competitions this season in the wake of Covid-19 and we certainly would not be in a position to conduct our competitions without sponsors such as South32.”
“The cooperation from all clubs to bring together meaningful competitions in this difficult time has also been very pleasing.”
The Illawarra Division Rugby League has taken the decision to proceed with this season’s competitions following advice from the NSW Government that it is safe for sporting competitions to proceed. The health and welfare of all players and coaching staff is a top priority for the IRL.
All participating clubs are required to have an approved COVID-19 safety plan and officer. Match day protocols include drink breaks midway through each half, regular sanitising of balls and equipment, social distancing on interchange benches and restricted use of dressing rooms. The use of communal drink bottles is prohibited.
There will also be hand sanitising stations at all venues and limits placed on attendance numbers.
Teams will play each other three times over nine weeks with the minor premier advancing to the Grand Final on 26/27 September. Team two will play team three for the right to face the minor premiers in the decider. Corrimal host Helensburgh in the opening game on Saturday, 18 July at Ziems Pk.