Following the determined and spirited display by Toowoomba Junior Rugby League officials who declared earlier this year they would not allow the COVID-19 shutdown to defeat them; the League is now offering a helping hand to their next-door neighbours.
The long-awaited return of junior footy in the Darling Downs in just over two weeks will answer an SOS from their southern cousins at Warwick, as well as an eager under 15 team from Roma, who are more than willing to make the 700km round trip just to lace up the boots in these extraordinary times.
Roma and the Collegians (Warwick) will join Toowoomba Brothers, Dalby, Pittsworth, Southern Suburbs and Toowoomba Valleys in this year's altered TJRL international boys competition, kicking off on July 25.
These age groups usually feature two divisions - premier grade and development cup - and the intent will be to continue that format where possible this season.
The abridged season will help maximise participation, especially with a record number of permits lodged to accommodate players from other areas that don't have active competitions such as Warwick, Goondiwindi and MIT (Millmerran, Inglewood and Texas).
The under 8 to under 12 age groups will join their older counterparts on the footy field on the same weekend; while Toowoomba's successful under 14 and under 16 girls competitions will also return on July 25, involving participants from as far as Warwick, South Burnett and Ipswich.
With the League agreeing to not host finals in 2020, the season will take place over eight weeks and finish up on September 12 with the final round of matches.
TJRL chair Dan Aldons was excited for both Collegians and Roma to join in this year's season to create more opportunities for young people to play rugby league.