The Queensland Rugby League’s littlest stars will kick off the return of rugby league action in the state this weekend.
Roma and District Junior Rugby League chair Justin Garvie said he was excited to see the season pick back up after a fantastic start earlier in the year.
“Before COVID struck, we had already kicked our season off with our representative trials and Round 1 and were hoping for a fairly big year," Garvie said.
“So we felt there was a commitment from us to return when we could.
"I suppose the background with our junior league is that each year we've grown in numbers and over the last couple of years, we've grown by about 70 players, so we didn't want this good work to go to waste.
"As restrictions began to lift, I couldn't see any reason why we couldn't get to some sort of position where we could put some more games on."
Junior rugby league will also be played in Brisbane in the under 6 and under 7 age groups.
In Mt Isa, both the junior and senior leagues will return, with the juniors starting this on Saturday for under 6 to under 11 players. The seniors will begin from August 1.
The league has also implemented a new format for under 15 and under 17 boys this season to give them an opportunity to play, with a City v Country series to kick off from July 31.
Next weekend will see 13 junior and senior leagues resume, with Friday football to take place on the Sunshine Coast from July 24.
Sunshine Coast Junior Rugby League chairman Cameron Herbert said the clubs in the area had all worked hard to get to a point where they could return to the field.
“It's great news that our clubs have agreed to go ahead with the under 6 to under 12 competition," Herbert said.
“This means we'll have a full junior competition on the Sunshine Coast from under 6 to 16 with a majority of clubs participating.”
The first of the senior leagues will also begin, including in the South East Region.
The easing of restrictions has brought the return date a week sooner, and clubs, players and fans are eagerly awaiting the official launch of the draw for the BRL A Grade and RLB senior men’s and women’s competitions.
Most grades will play in 10-12 round competitions, with finals being staged for the older age groups.
Gold Coast juniors and seniors competitions are also set to return, with Rugby League Gold Coast chair Peter Daley confirming the positive step forward following last month's Board meeting.
In the northern and central regions, there will be seven leagues return from Gulf United Rugby League in the north to Bundaberg Junior Rugby League in Central Queensland.
Toowoomba Junior Rugby League have welcomed some neighbouring teams into their altered international boys competition, with Roma and the Collegians (Warwick) joining Toowoomba Brothers, Dalby, Pittsworth, Southern Suburbs and Toowoomba Valleys.
August 1 will see all but one the remaining returning leagues run out on their fields once more, with more northern teams getting back on deck via the Townsville and District Junior Rugby League and the Mackay junior and senior league.
After initially cancelling the season, Ipswich will return with a new shortened season from August 1 in both the seniors and juniors.
“I commend the effort being put in by club volunteers to comply with the requirements in order to get these competitions off the ground to allow their players to take part,” South East Queensland region chairman Brad Tallon said.
“It’s great to see all levels of the game working together to put leagues, clubs and players in a position to play some rugby league this year.”
The last of the leagues to return will be Cairns District Rugby League on August 8 under a new competition format.
Their juniors will return later this month, with their season set to resume on July 31.
In the seniors, the 'Lightning Challenge' will feature Cairns Brothers, Tully and two teams from the Northern Pride - incorporating a mix of the club's Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, Hastings Deering Colts and Intrust Super Cup players.
Central West Rugby League are set to make a call on both their senior and junior leagues later this month.