Guidelines released by Sport New Zealand have allowed for training to resume in Alert Level 2 of lockdown and local clubs are gearing up for when competitions resume.
The scramble to be match ready is especially acute for community rugby clubs as the start of Level 1 – whenever that may be announced – is likely to instantly kick off the two-week pre-season period.
Mahurangi Rugby Club veteran Haden Kose says in the meantime training will be non-contact and distancing will still apply while players do drills on the field.
As Mahurangi Matters went to press, the format of the rugby season was still a matter of speculation, however a delayed start is likely to mean some kind of reconfiguration.
One possibility is that the Mitre 10 community club rugby season will run concurrently with provincial rugby, which would mean clubs could lose their top tier players.
Another possibility is that the club rugby season will consist of only a round robin and forego the finals round.
Kose says the main risk is that the rugby season could cross over into the touch rugby season in October, which could cause scheduling conflicts at the Warkworth Showgrounds.
It has also been an unfortunate season for young players looking to make representative teams, with representative rugby tournaments being cancelled
Meanwhile, New Zealand Rugby announced that the Super Rugby season will go ahead with a three to four week training period beginning in Level 2.
Five teams will play each other at home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend. All matches will be played in closed stadiums.
NZ Rugby says a decision on the All Blacks Steinlager Series in July against Wales and Scotland will be made in the coming days.
The netball ANZ Premiership has also been given the green light to begin in Level 2, but as Mahurangi Matters went to press, no announcement had been made about community netball.
Wellsford Netball Centre vice president Lynette Gubb says the goal is to have its season started before the end of July.
Ordinarily, the season would have started by now and so Gubb is anticipating a shorter season, potentially of around six weeks, instead of the usual 14 weeks.
The main issue is that younger players will be looking to transition to summer sports such as swimming and tennis.
Gubb is also aware that for smaller clubs the delayed season has meant they will not be able to play as gaming and trust grants have been put on hold.
Hockey New Zealand has also confirmed that training can begin in Alert Level 2 with the competitive season possibly starting in Level 1.
Warkworth Hockey club men’s captain Graham Buchs says its teams have been keen to resume trainings on Tuesday evenings in Level 2.
“We have kept in contact with club members and have received no feedback that they won’t be returning to play once the season starts,” he says.
The Northern Football Federation has announced that training can resume at Level 2 and the competitive season could begin as early as May 30.
At this stage, guidelines from NZ Football suggest there can be up to 100 spectators, as long as all players and spectators document their name, number and address in a tracing record.
Puhoi SC has announced four new signings to its first team over the lockdown period, suggesting there is a healthy appetite in the district to return to play.