Keighley Cougars coach Rhys Lovegrove has said the return of League 1 action this week is the perfect way to mark a year of hard work done by all those involved at every club.
When the competition closed down in March last year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic there were fears some clubs may not survive without the vital income streams provided by spectators.
But 14 months on all League 1 clubs are still in business and ready to return to action this weekend, which Lovegrove feels should be celebrated.
“It’s crazy to think we’re finally coming back,” said Lovegrove, whose side takes on Doncaster on Sunday.
“The last year or so has been really challenging, but rewarding at the same time, so hats off to everyone for making the starting line.
“A lot of credit needs to go to a lot of people across all the clubs in the league.
“That every club is still here ready to start the new season is definitely something to celebrate.
“League 1 its about the volunteers. A lot of people do a lot of work with these clubs for free.
“One of the greatest thing about Rugby League for me is the community and the people pulling together to support their team and their club.
“The people around our club have had a huge impact in the last year, and that is going to be the same across a lot of clubs.
“Round One should be about all those people who have pulled in the same direction to keep their clubs going since last March, because we might not have been at this stage without them all.
“Fingers crossed we can repay the favour by putting in a great spectacle across the weekend for them to enjoy.”
Opening League 1 fixtures in full: Saturday: London Skolars v North Wales Crusaders (15:30). Sunday: Coventry Bears v Barrow Raiders (15:00), Hunslet v Workington Town (14:00), Keighley Cougars v Doncaster (15:00), Rochdale Hornets v West Wales Raiders (15:00). All games streamed live on OurLeague.
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.