WHEN NSW plunged into a lockdown on 5pm on Saturday, August 14, the Group Three Rugby League season came to a halt.
The game between Taree City and Wingham at the Jack Neal Oval was the last completed for 2021. Port Macquarie was due to meet Old Bar at Wauchope on the same day, however, this was called off due to the pending lockdown that was announced earlier that day.
The finals series had to potential to be the best for many years. While Wauchope was the unbeaten leader both Port Macquarie and Old Bar had serious claims. Fourth placed Port City and Macleay Valley in fifth were also capable of mounting a challenge.
The group did its best to get the finals underway, but was frustrated by continued lockdown extensions.
Eventually the NSWRL stepped in and called off all competitions in the State. It ended a season where the kickoff was delayed due to problems associated with the March flood and where wet weather played havoc mid-year, forcing games to be postponed. The COVID spectre was always there.
Port Macquarie and Port City rarely played games at their home ground, the Port Macquarie Regional Stadium, initially because of the flood damage while later as it was used as a COVID-19 testing clinic.
Wingham captain-coach Mick Sullivan's year was cut short when he was locked down in his Central Coast home from late June.
On a brighter note both Wingham and Forster-Tuncurry clubs marked the 100 year milestone - the Tigers made it a weekend of celebrations that included a bumper crowd at the Wingham Sporting Complex for the game against Taree City followed by a reunion.
It was a season like no other.
In another twist, the Group Three 2021 presentation, which was to be held tomorrow night (Friday), became a victim of the latest COVID-19 lockdown for the Taree and Forster-Tuncurry postcodes, announced Monday night. An alternative date is yet to be advised.
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