THE SHOW could soon be back on the road for ruby league clubs as the RFL has revealed its target date for the restart of training and competition.

The Betfred Championship and League One clubs are all targeting March 21 as their return date. Whitehaven’s chairman Tommy Todd told The Whitehaven News that although public health is the top priority, the side are eager to get back on the field.

“Everybody can’t wait, even the players themselves, they’re all eager to get going. But we’ve all just got to do our part for the general good. Everybody would like to get back to rugby but it’s health and safety of the fans and players that’s important.”

The chairman paid tribute to the efforts of those behind the scenes.

“Kerry Blacklock, she’s our lead Covid officer along with Des Byrne and Andrew Hurley. Kelly’s done a tremendous job.

“It’s all the minutiae that’s the hard thing. The Covid officer has to go into a great deal of fine detail.”

Todd admitted that clubs like Whitehaven face challenges in meeting the demands of the period.

“They’re talking about the first match on March 21. It seems to be going the way of behind closed doors, that is a major issue for Whitehaven and I would imagine a lot of championship clubs.”

He added that clubs have to start paying their players again without revenue from the gate and that the restart date is speculative until more is known about when lockdown will end.

"On top of that we’ve got a raft of Government regulations, it’s worrying that we’ve got another Covid-19 variant."

Todd added that the possibility of having a restricted number of fans in attendance would be a more appealing option to regional clubs like Haven.

"That would be probably doable for us. We've got room to spread people out. That's what we would aim for."

The last rugby league games played on our shores were played before the first national lockdown in March 2020, it is set to return one year later with the 2021 Challenge Cup, featuring all 13 UK clubs in the Betfred Championship. An additional three clubs from League One have been added to the mix including Barrow Raiders.

Haven boss Gary Charlton and chairman Todd have been at pains to bolster their squad in anticipation for 2021 campaign.

Australian prop forward Ryan King was signed in August 2020 and former Leigh Centurions playmaker Gregg McNally announced his return to Haven in December. Former Warrington back-rower Ellis Gillam signed in October.