THEY thought they might not have had a season.
But next Friday night, junior rugby players from around the Hastings will take to the field as a shortened 2020 season kicks off.
They've had to wait for restrictions to be lifted and while a global pandemic still continues on in the background, kids from under-6s all the way to under-14s will get to play some rugby.
NSW Waratahs junior development coach for the Mid North Coast Lisa Vogel said if there was any way of getting a competition off the ground in 2020, they were going to make it happen.
But it also had to be within the health guidelines as set by the relevant authorities.
"As soon as we found out we could play junior sport from July 1 we worked through those processes and attended COVID-19 webinars to make sure we're doing it as safely as possible," she said.
"It's about helping the kids get out on the paddock and have some fun because the kids have been starved of rugby for a little bit.
"It was about giving them the opportunity to get back out on that field and have some games even if it is in the 10s format."
Vogel said without doubt the age group that had seen the greatest growth in was the under-14 girls who played their inaugural season in 2019.
"The under-14 girls had really good numbers last year and we've seen them grow that even with COVID."
The competition will run with pathway rules which provide flexibility by allowing teams to share numbers if necessary.
"Teams might be a little light on numbers because some parents are choosing not to have their kids participate which is completely their prerogative and we support them fully," Vogel said.
"But the whole point is giving parents the option to choose."
The season starts on July 24.