While he understands it's a unique and unprecedented situation, Bathurst Panthers' big man Josh Starling says Group 10 is moving too fast with its decision-making processes regarding the commencement date and season structure in 2020.
The competition is proposing a July 18 kick-off but the feasibility of that date rests largely on whether or not crowds will be allowed into the playing fields and instead of rushing to throw together plans and ideas, Starling thinks it would be better off if Group 10 took a leaf out of the Woodbridge Cup's book.
Its president Andrew Pull said on Thursday that he's putting all meetings and decisions on hold until at least June and let the ever-changing government rules and regulations run their course and the former Manly Sea Eagles' prop is a fan of that sort of approach.
"It's called common sense... anyone would tell you not to make a decision until we know what's going on," Starling said.
"There's been two meetings so far and they've both had the same outcome and that's because they don't know if they'll be allowed to have crowds."
Not only does he think the planning's premature, Starling's concerned about the financial implications of a shortened 2020 season on some of the less-fortunate clubs.
"I think you've got to look at the longevity of the competition," he said.
"You might ruin a few clubs by trying to do it this year and everyone knows clubs would be in trouble without crowds."
Group 10 president Linore Zamparini isn't blind to the importance of spectators at matches and not only does he want crowds to be allowed in the door as much as anyone, he wants to be able to help out the clubs that are doing it tough.
"Clubs are hurting right now... they're bleeding," he said.
"The teams want to play but they don't want to do it without crowds."
Since moving from the Illawarra region to the Central West, Starling's been impressed with the quality of footy but knows you don't get that quality without forking out some coin.
"This is a strong competition and to get a strong competition you've got to pay people to play," he said.
"There's a lot of people out there who won't risk an injury for free.
"It's not like when you're a kid and you can go to school and when you get home you've got your parents looking after you... the majority of the people who play need to be on their feet to work and wouldn't want to risk an injury without being paid."
From a personal standpoint, Starling's had a tough time getting motivated without a return date fully confirmed but he's been doing what he can to stay in good condition.
"You do as much as you can but it's pretty hard when you're not sure when you'll be playing," he said.
Starling's got the itch to play in 2020 and he knows a host of other players do as well but he's not prepared to do it at the detriment of another club.
"I'm sure there's a thousand blokes who want to play but you've got to think of what's best for the clubs," he said.
"Everyone wants to get out there and play footy because we all love it but it shouldn't be at the expense of a club."
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