A popular Mackay sport has become the first in the region to cancell its season because of COVID-19.
A popular Mackay sport has become the first in the region to cancell its season because of COVID-19.

How decision to shut border will affect sports competitions

GOLD Coast sports competitions and athletes involved have been thrown into disarray on the back of the Queensland Government's decision to shut the border to NSW and the ACT.

All visitors from NSW and the ACT will be barred entry to Queensland from 1am on Saturday, August 8, after Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young declared the state and territory a COVID hotspot.

The decision will have an enormous impact on multiple sports, most notably Australian rules and rugby league.

Here is what you need to know:

 

AUSTRALIAN RULES

The border closure will have the greatest impact on the QFA Division 2 South competition, a 12 team league that encompasses six Gold Coast teams and four Nothern Rivers sides, including Byron Bay, Ballina, Tweed Coast and Lismore.

AFL Queensland operations manager Barry Gibson said the state body had been in contact with all the clubs as they review the situation.

"We have sent a note to our clubs advising them that we are currently reviewing the situation and we will advise them in due course," Gibson said.

A major stumbling block for AFLQ is the fact the QFA Divion 2 South league hosted it's first round of cross-border games last weekend in Round 4.

"We had it set up that the first three games weren't cross-border, so if the border closed we would be covered," Gibson said.

"We have gone past that now and have a bit to work through."

The four Northern Rivers clubs only entered the larger competition this year and may be forced to go back to a small league of their own now.

Tweed Coast Tigers QFA senior coach Hamish Mitchell took on the job this year because of the arrival of the new league and said while it couldn't be controlled, it was disappointing.

"Our hands are tied and it doesn't look like we will be playing any cross-border football in the near future," Mitchell said.

"We will probably have to go back to a Northern Rivers competition.

"It provided such a great challenge and a pathway for players from the Northern Rivers.

"We recruited well and players who started their careers with us and went to places like Palm Beach Currumbin had now come back."

It's an even bigger blow for Byron Bay who currently sit on top of the ladder unbeaten with four wins.

The shutdown of the border also affects some QAFL sides who have players and coaching staff who live in NSW.

Trent Stubbs was flying in and out from Sydney but won't be sighted again for Palm Beach Currumbin while Riley Buckland, who was pressing for a start in the senior side, will also be stuck.

PBC coach Jess Sinclair lives over the border but can travel due to work.

Players from the Northern Rivers who are involved in the Gold Coast Suns Academy won't be able to play in Academy series games, due to begin this weekend, further interrupting their lead in to the national draft later this year.

They include Jed Foggo, a Coolangatta Blues player who is from the Northern Rivers.