CALLED OFF: Stanthorpe’s oztag players will be on the sidelines for another 12 months, following the cancellation of the 2020 season.
CALLED OFF: Stanthorpe’s oztag players will be on the sidelines for another 12 months, following the cancellation of the 2020 season.

Oztag season bows out before first whistle

IT’LL be a gruelling 12 months on the sidelines for Stanthorpe OzTag players after the 2020 season was called-off due to stringent COVID-19 regulations.

A unanimous decision was made to cancel the season after COVID health and safety measures were too difficult for the organisation’s small number of volunteers to manage.

Queensland OzTag regional manager Robbie Russell said the unfortunate decision was one that came as a surprise to the sport’s players.

“A lot of them were disappointed but understanding; knowing this year has been pretty crazy, they could see the impacts,” Mr Russell said.

“As much as they wanted to get out, it became slightly impossible to run.”

The cancellation of the season will mean more than 300 junior and 200 senior athletes will be without a game heading into the summer.

Mr Russell said he wasn’t too concerned that the year off would impact players’ motivation to come back.

“We’ve always had dedicated players in our senior and junior competitions who are coming back after two or three years,” he said.

“It’ll mean they can take a break and we can kick it off in 2021.”

As the region’s largest sporting organisation, Mr Russell said organisers would focus on attracting more players to the sport in the next season.

“It’s always the hope that we can continue to grow; there’s limited numbers in Stanthorpe not being able to really draw from nearby towns,” he said.

“We do our school clinics every year and we’re looking at introducing new programs to keep (the kids) stimulated.

“For the seniors, we just use word of mouth, but we go out to Stanthorpe State High School and that’s where a lot of our teams come from.”

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