The long and the short of it is… rugby league is returning in North Queensland.
The region's biggest club Townsville Brothers, who have over 700 players, along with one of its smallest and most remote, Gulf United JRL, based in Normanton - a club that hosts one tenth of the participants their city cousins have - are both in the final stages of crossing the white line once again.
It’s a massive achievement for both entities who have persisted with getting back on the field, working hard to follow the somewhat challenging COVID-19 guidelines to ensure their clubs are ready for a safe return.
Despite the extra work that has had to occur behind the scenes in these extraordinary times, both clubs have committed to whatever it takes to get their juniors players back onto the field in 2020.
Brothers are also planning to get their senior men and women back on the training paddock this week in readiness for some rugby league action in late July.
QRL northern region manager Scott Nosworthy is proud of all volunteers who have persevered through the recent adversity.
“It's a massive undertaking for all clubs and leagues who want to play rugby league this season and I am continually amazed by the resilience and determination shown by our wonderful committees and volunteers to stay positive," Nosworthy said.
"I already knew our volunteers are invaluable to rugby league, but their importance and passion has been reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They are always putting the interests of their players first.”
Gulf United JRL chairperson Amanda Scott believes the communities of Karumba and Normanton are excited at the prospect of returning.
"With over 70 children registered, we expect an increase in numbers and a strong interest in training and the resumption of games," Scott said.
"A lot of planning is underway to guarantee all government and rugby league regulations are met by our club.
"Last year was a strong and positive first year to football in our communities and our committee are passionately committed to work hard to get footy back to the youth in both of our towns.
"We are also super excited to wear our new jerseys that we haven’t worn yet, so we ask our communities get behind our club with volunteering, sponsorship and support so we can deliver a solid 10 weeks of footy and most importantly, move forward into a strong 2021."
Townsville Brothers chair Roger Whyte summed it up best.
“Brothers are overjoyed that our players are back on the training fields today," Whyte said.
"One hundred per cent, rugby league is alive and well.”