North Wales Crusaders’ newest signing Tyme Nikau says he has no regrets about the move, despite now finding himself in lockdown thousands of miles away from his native Australia.
Nikau arrived in the UK in early March and managed just one training session with his new team-mates before all rugby was halted because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It has not exactly been the start to my time over here that I expected, but there is not much I can do about it,” said Nikau.
“Everyone in same situation, so I am just rolling with the punches.
“My wife and I are staying with some family friends in York, so that has made things easier and we are being well looked after.
“York is a beautiful place to be and the weather has mainly been great too, so I can’t complain.
“I have bee getting out most days for a jog or walk and headed to the city or round the walls. It’s such a lovely place and it’s nice to be able to experience and see it without the hustle and bustle.
“We came over last year on a holiday and visited York, but I am only just realising now, when I see it without the crowds, just how much there is in the city.
“There are lots of worse place to be than here.
“The trip from York to Wrexham is not as far as what we have already done from the southern hemisphere, but it works just now. We will probably end up moving a bit closer to the club once we know a bit more about what’s happening with the season, but this works for the time being.
“Things don’t always pan out as you’d imagine, but we’re making the most of it. There are definitely no regrets about making the move.
“This situation is out of everyone’s hands, so we are just looking on the bright side. There are lots of people worse off than us.”
ROCHDALE HORNETS’ incoming Chairman Andy Mazey has said new initiatives launched since the game was put into lockdown seem to have proved successful.
Changes to the club’s lottery scheme and the launch of a Squadbuilder programme is seeing funds continue to come into the club, while other revenue streams have dried up with no games taking place.
“The buzz word for us has always been sustainability and building a club and model that can grow and develop on its own revenue streams,” said Mazey.
“Since the lottery has gone purely online there has been a big take-up of that, with well over 100 new direct debits.
“The Squadbuilder has also seen a new revenue stream come in. That has also seen a positive start with around £400 coming in via direct debit every month that we didn’t have couple of months ago.
“We are doing some online auctions as well, which are going well.
“We are just trying to be proactive as possible in this crisis with aim of being one of the stronger clubs when we come out of this on the other side.”
LONDON SKOLARS utility player Mike Bishay has said recent changes to the lockdown regulations will help ensure that players are in good shape once they are allowed to return to training and playing.
When the country was placed in lockdown on March 23, people were allowed out for just one form of exercise a day. But relaxed rules means there is now no limit on the number of times a day people can exercise, or for how long.
“As players we have all been furloughed, so we are just training by ourselves and just trying to stay fit and eat well,” said Bishay, who says that the motivation to stay fit can be hit hard during the lockdown.
“I am fortunate that I have a running track near me that is open to the public, so I have been able to get down there and use that, as well as doing some running in the fields near by.
“Now that we can be outside for longer and as often as we like, that is going to help.
“It means, if you wanted to, you can do a session in the morning and then again in the evening. That is like stepping up your training a little bit more and then hopefully you’ll be ready for the season getting underway again.
“There is only so much you can do on own and you can’t really do any ball work.
“Training by yourself is nowhere near the same as doing it with team-mates, fitness wise; when you’re racing against team-mates it is something else to motivate you.
“Not knowing when the season is starting can take away some of the motivation as well, because you sometimes find yourself thinking that I might be doing all this when the season won’t even kick off again.
“But you also know you have to do it because nobody wants to get back into the season and be the one that gets left behind.”
KEIGHLEY COUGARS favourite James Feather is delighted to see how his boyhood club has led the way during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a club that prides itself for being at the heart of the local community, the Cougars have been showing their support for all the key workers that have been so vital during the current health crisis.
“A lot of clubs have been fantastic through this, but Keighley have been especially good,” said Feather.
“They have done a shirt for us to play in when we get back, with money from it going to NHS workers, which is incredible. And we also sourced thousands of face masks, which were given out free to key workers.
“I am not just a player for the club; I am also a supporter of the club and am very proud to be involved with them.
“They were one of the first clubs to do things like this, so it’s great to see them leading from the front.
“That all comes down to the owners and full credit for everything they are doing.”
BARROW RAIDERS forward Carl Forster couldn’t be happier with the way the club is handling the current health crisis that has seen Rugby League come to a halt.
The 27-year-old made the move to the club from Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven ahead of this season, and he still believes the Raiders can taste success if and when the season resumes.
“Steve Neale (Chairman) has been fantastic with us all throughout,” said Forster.
“As soon as he finds anything out he puts that information straight out to us. We’re probably being kept in the loop a lot more than many other players.
“The club has been spot on with me since day one, and through these tough times there have been wage cuts and everyone has kept in close contact. I can’t heap enough praise on the club.
“Hopes were really high that we could achieve something this year before the season came to a grinding halt, and that attitude is still there for us all.”
DONCASTER loose forward Jordie Hedges believes the club will be in a much better position this year if they get the chance to push for promotion to the Championship.
The Dons finished fourth in League 1 last season, but lost out to both Oldham and Newcastle in the play-off semi-finals.
“We were quite unfortunate last year when a couple of serious injuries to key forwards hit us hard,” said Hedges, who was one of those players forced to missed the latter stages of the season with a serious knee injury.
“But we have kept a lot of same playing squad and added to it, so hopefully we can go one better than that if we get the chance this year.
“We are definitely stronger now. Ross Peltier is a massive addition for us and Jack Logan has come in with Super League experience.
“Those two in themselves have been a massive boost. Hopefully the guys can play in the way they have shown in the past and help us go much better this season.”
COVENTRY BEARS’ first-team coach Richard Squires has said it is just as important to keep his players mentally fit during lockdown as it is physically.
As with all clubs in the game, the Coventry squad are all training individually, as well as in virtual time, and are using their social media platforms to stay in touch with each other.
“Keeping the lads together, having a laugh and keeping that team cohesion together is important,” said Squires.
“It’s probably as important than the physical side of things.
“We’re quite a youngish team. With the exception of Liam Welham, everyone is under the age of 26, which is quite different to most League 1 clubs.
“With mental health being a big thing, people being cooped up inside everyday isn’t great.
“We have generally been lucky with the weather, so they have been able to get out and do their daily exercise in nice conditions.
“But it is important to keep everyone talking to each other.”
WEST WALES RAIDERS coach Aaron Wood has said plenty of work is going on behind the scenes to ensure the club is a leading figure in the local community once Rugby League is back up and running.
“There is a lot happening,” said Wood.
“Peter Tiffin (CEO), our general manager Richard Stebbing and I are doing a lot of work on our social media channels to get that going properly.
“We also have set up a new kids programme, the Raiders Rascals, so hopefully we can get that going with some coaching sessions and some camps over the summer to try and get the community back involved with what we’re doing.
“Our owner Andrew Thorne works in the health care sector, so we’re all just trying to help where we can as well.
HUNSLET centre Tom Ashton is the latest Rugby League player to show his support to key workers, by helping to arrange for a supply of personal protection equipment to be donated to a leading local hospice.
Ashton’s bosses at Express Electrical backed his idea of supporting key organisations in the battle against coronavirus and offered their full support.
A delivery of the PPE was dropped off in a parcel at the front door of Headingley’s Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, an organisation that the South Leeds club has a close relationship with.
“Express Electrical and I are always looking at ways in which we can help the community,” said Ashton.
“Hunslet has developed a place in my heart and the club has a great connection with the hospice.
“As a small company we rely on local, loyal businesses to keep us afloat and that’s why we want to give a little back.”