How Capras’ coach is dealing with cancelled season
RUGBY LEAGUE: CQ Capras head coach David Faiumu admits he is having a little trouble adjusting to his new normal.
His squad has not trained together since the QRL's suspension of its four statewide competitions on March 17 after just one round in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The governing body then made the unprecedented call last Friday to cancel the 2020 seasons.
Faiumu said he was surprised by the decision but, once the NRL season had been suspended, realised it was "kind of inevitable" for the Intrust Super Cup and the other second-tier competitions.
"We're governed a lot by what happens at the top so I had a gut feeling that if the NRL was suspended it wasn't looking too good for us," he said.
"I've had a few days to reflect on what was supposed to be and what we were planning to do.
"But now it's straight into what's next for our players and our club and it's into planning mode for us and getting ready for next season."
Faiumu said while the majority of his squad remained in the region, six players had returned home after the initial call on the Intrust Super Cup in March.
He is desperate to keep as many of his 32-man squad in place for 2021 as he can.
He is urging them to keep up their individual training - and he is doing his bit too.
"I can't be telling the boys to keep training and not train myself," he said.
"I like to mix my training up a bit with some running, body weight exercises and running.
"My body is pretty knackered now and it can only take so much but I'm doing what I can."
Faiumu said he was grateful for the various communication platforms that allow him to stay connected with his players but said it was different.
"It's been hard not having that regular contact," he said.
"For the last 20 years, I've been used to shaking 30-odd sets of hands every day.
"It's a little bit weird, it's different talking to them on the phone or through Skype but I'm getting used to it and trying to do my best."
Faiumu said the most disappointing thing for him was that "the boys don't get to play".
"I know how hard they've worked during the pre-season. It's all voluntary until they start playing so I commend them on that and can't thank them enough for their efforts.
"I was really looking forward to watching them grow.
"I'd brought 16 new faces into this group, including a lot of 20s players from last year, and this was going to be the year to get them up to Q-Cup level.
"We had guys like Blake Moore, Wes Sisifa, Christian Smith, Jack Pattie and Chalice Atoi who between them had probably played about 15 games of ISC.
"I would have loved for them all to have played 20 games each this year, which would have helped the club enormously for 2021.
"It's not to be so we just have to set our sights on next season and start working towards that."
Faiumu said the impact of the coronavirus was being felt in rugby league communities across the world.
"It's heartbreaking and it's so widespread - from the UK to France to New Zealand to here in Central Queensland, everywhere rugby league is played.
"I feel for everyone involved in our great game, from the volunteers to the elite players.
"I am speaking in the context of rugby league but I know how hard some people around the world have it right now.
"I'm mindful of those who are suffering and have experienced major losses in their lives because of the virus.
"As so many people have been quoting around the world, we'll get through it.
"I know it sounds cliched but it's true - we'll find a way."