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Heat Forces NSWRL To Cancel Junior Matches


Heat Forces NSWRL To Cancel Junior Matches

The New South Wales Rugby League has been forced to abandon the start of its junior league competition as Sydney's heatwave wreaks havoc with weekend sport.

It comes after Canterbury announced a one-hour delay to their NRL trial against Penrith on Saturday evening and the A-League earlier postponed their Saturday fixture between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory to Monday night.

Women's fixtures in the NSWRL have also been cancelled.

"In the interests of player welfare and proper administration of the competitions, all matches have been cancelled," an NSWRL statement said.

The developments came as former NRL star Wendell Sailor claimed NRL trials in extreme heat were risking players' welfare.

Above 40-degree temperatures are predicted to hit Sydney and surrounds across the weekend.

The trial between Canterbury and Penrith has been pushed back to 7pm.

South Sydney and Manly's NRL trial is scheduled for a 7.30pm kick-off on Saturday despite the mercury in Campbelltown tipped to reach 45 degrees during the day.

Sailor said trial games should be postponed until the heatwave subsides.

"It's ridiculous. The athletes and footballers these days push themselves as it is," Sailor told Triple M.

"Some people say it's a necessary evil. I don't think so. It's a long enough season, the wear and tear and player welfare. It's not needed. It's ridiculous."

Rugby League Players Association boss Ian Prendergast remained confident the right decision would be made.

"The players naturally want to play, no doubt about that," he said.

"But sometimes it's a matter of taking that power out of their hands so we do what's reasonably possible to protect their interests in circumstances such as these.

"The players will be listened to. That definitely will be a consideration."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said the league's heat policy put the decision on whether to play into medical expert's, with discussions underway about weekend trials.

"The people who are most qualified to make decisions on player welfare are our doctors, our sports medics," Greenberg told reporters on Friday.

"Those are the people over the course of the weekend that will do that in consultation with the policy in our heat guidelines. Club doctors will liaise also with the NRL's chief medical officer.

"They will follow the heat guidelines. If and when we have to make decisions, they'll do that in consultation with both teams."