MUSWELLBROOK'S winter sporting season appears to have been dealt another blow this week.
While most competitions - from rugby league to AFL - are already shortened in 2020, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a spate of new cases in the Hunter looks set to derail the local clubs' campaigns even more.
Muswellbrook Shire Council issued a directive to a number of groups on Thursday, August 6, strongly urging there be no "large" organised events conducted in the area, which involves teams or people travelling from Newcastle or Maitland, due to the impact of COVID-19.
It is hoped the move will reduce the opportunity for the spread of coronavirus, from the bigger centres, to the Upper Hunter.
The Muswellbrook Cats, who recently enjoyed their first win in the AFL Hunter Central Coast Black Diamond Plate, were scheduled to face Terrigal Avoca at Weeraman Field on Saturday.
But, that fixture is now in doubt.
"The club is currently working with AFL NSW to come to a decision regarding Muswellbrook's participation in the current competition," a spokesperson said.
"We will know more later today once players, coaches, committee and the league have spoken."
Muswellbrook District Junior Rugby League Football Club (MDJRLFC) acted quickly, too.
"We received a letter from the [council] general manager on Thursday afternoon," president Johnny Marco said.
"With this in mind, the committee made the unanimous decision to suspend all of our international sides from both the Maitland and HVCC competitions until further notice.
"This outcome was not made lightly, however we feel it's the right call at the moment.
"All our [international] teams will continue to train under our current COVID-19 safety plan.
"We intend to return to the relevant competitions when the present situation with coronavirus has improved - and restrictions have eased in these areas.
"We'll also monitor the impact of COVID-19 in the aforementioned regions.
"Once we're given permission from council, we'll participate in season 2020 again.
"Our decision does not include Muswellbrook's mini/mod and league tag sides.
"They will continue to play in the Group 21 competition."