Gathering sizes remain the key for Northland's winter sporting codes as they eye a possible return to play next month.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to announce today whether gathering restrictions, currently at 10, will increase - a decision that will affect many sectors.
Ardern has maintained any relaxing of the restrictions would be small, more likely to be in increments of 10 rather than going from 10 to 100.
As sports codes must adhere to these restrictions, gathering sizes must increase to allow competitions to start.
The Northern Advocate gathered information about Northland's primary winter codes and when they expect to be back training and playing. All data is subject to changing guidelines from the Government, Sport New Zealand and codes' respective national bodies.
Rugby training for seniors and IMB teams could begin this week provided clubs have completed "return to training" requirements with the Northland Rugby Union.
Regarding the men's competition, the first preseason game for seniors and IMB could be on June 13 with a start to competition on June 20.
With respect to the premier and premier reserve competitions, community rugby manager Clark Lewis said a likely competition format would be one complete round with finals, rather than the 16-week, split-round format of previous years.
However, Lewis said competition formats would be discussed with clubs before confirmation.
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Regarding the north and south zone competition, Lewis said he was still engaged with clubs over player numbers.
Lewis expressed an immense gratitude to all volunteers working to see the season start and he emphasised the impact of Covid-19 on clubs, teams and players would be considered in any competition's structure and rules.
For women's club rugby competitions, Northland women's rugby development manager Scott Collins said six clubs had confirmed they would play in the senior competition.
They were Otamatea Hawks, City, Hora Hora, OB Marist, Kaikohe and Te Rarawa. Collins confirmed Dargaville OB, who played in last year's competition, had withdrawn this year.
Collins said a senior competition would likely start on the weekend of June 27-28 after a four-week preseason period, during which teams could organise preseason games in the final two weeks.
As teams struggled with injury in last year's season, Collins said this preseason period was crucial for players to prepare their bodies for competition.
Should the season start on June 27-28, Collins said the competition would run for seven weeks, which gave a two-week period before the proposed start of the Farah Palmer Cup in late August.
Collins said games such as north vs south or contests between sub-unions could be played in that two-week period to prepare for the domestic competition.
Regarding women's age-group competitions, Collins said it was hard to know how many teams were interested until training began. If there weren't enough to form competitions, Collins said his aim would be to run development days - which was dependent on interest and finances.
For juniors, Northland Junior Council chairwoman Kylie Harper said junior rugby competitions wouldn't start until term three (July 25) and training was only likely to start two weeks before.
Harper said at this stage, junior teams would not have access to changing rooms or clubrooms, after-matches would be held on the field and Kensington Park would not be used for games.
Training for senior grades resumed last week, abiding by gathering restrictions with temporary fencing and dividers at the Northland Hockey Centre.
According to Hockey Northland chief executive Grant McLeod, senior competitions could return some time in June and the premier men's and women's competitions were likely to play a full season thanks to the cancellation of this year's national competitions.
McLeod said he wasn't aware of any teams that would not be playing this year because of Covid-19. A survey of Hockey Northland's 1074 members in April found only 4.5 per cent had chosen not to play and 77 per cent confirmed they would play.
McLeod said collegiate and junior competitions would have a staggered return. However, he said the Government's gathering restrictions would dictate any confirmed competition dates.
Although no date had been confirmed, Northland's senior football club competitions could start mid-June, but would be strongly dictated by gathering restrictions.
To train, clubs have to fulfil specific requirements - something most of the bigger clubs were expected to have finished by late this week.
Senior competitions would be between 60-75 per cent of what they were last year. However, seasons would now go until the end of September - a month later than normal - after an agreement was reached between the Northern Football Federation, summer codes and councils.
It was understood no clubs had officially withdrawn from any competitions. It was not yet clear when junior competitions would begin.
Whangārei Netball Centre manager Rebecca Simper said the centre was taking the national approach, which was split into three phases.
Phase one was when respective centres would "get ready for netball" before phase two, "prepare to play", when netball activity such as training could resume on or after May 29, provided it accommodated all necessary guidelines.
Phase three was a return to play on or after June 19 - once again dictated by gathering guidelines.
Simper said there was "no rush" to return to play and that creating a safe environment was paramount.
Rugby League Northland general manager Phil Marsh confirmed the region's premier men's teams were keen to return to play, but player/team numbers were not confirmed yet.
As gathering restrictions would need to lift to 40-50 before rugby league could be played, Marsh said competition dates would be confirmed when that happened.
However, he did say there would be a three-week lead-in to prepare players, teams, clubs and administrators before the season.
Marsh said clubs had been advised not to train until gathering restrictions were lifted to 20 or more.
Clubs and administrators will meet today to see what was possible for the juniors. One potential scenario could be replacing competition with individual game days hosted by clubs, however, nothing was confirmed.
Northland Basketball general manager Josh Port said he was targeting the week of June 8 to start some of the local competitions, however, gathering sizes would have to lift to at least 20 or 50.