THE rugby league season being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic came as no surprise to Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey.

But times are now much more uncertain for all concerned at Craven Park.

Barrow Raiders didn’t have a game last weekend but matches elsewhere took place in the Super League, the Coral Challenge Cup and the community game, as the show went on while other sports pulled the plug on their competitions for the time being.

The RFL, however, bowed to the inevitable after government advice warned against mass gatherings and there will be no rugby played until at least April 3, with there being no guarantee the campaign will resume straight after.

If that uncertainty wasn’t enough, Crarey is now deciding where to go from here in terms of holding training and players who don’t live in Barrow travelling up from Lancashire but he accepts the RFL had no choice but to make their decision.

Crarey said: “It surprised me it took so long, in a way, but they were just going off guidelines. People had pulled the pin in other sports, whereas rugby league went off government guidelines but there was just a funny feeling about everything, really, with what’s going on.

“It’s all over the news and it’s now in our town, in Furness General Hospital and I believe someone had got it in BAE Systems. It’s on our doorstep so we’ve got to make sure the elderly and people who have got underlying health problems don’t get it.

“Whatever we’ve got to do, we’ve got to do it as a group and it had definitely been coming so it came as no shock to us all. It’s just about how long it’s going to go on for and what we do as a club.”

How Barrow’s players will maintain their fitness will be decided during the week with the government encouraging social distancing and them not having a game to prepare for until the Cumbrian derby against Workington Town on Good Friday (April 10) at the earliest.

Crarey said: “Do we carry on training, thinking we’re coming back in April? If not, and it’s going to be May or June, what do we do then? We may have to give the lads time off and bring them back, like a mini pre-season, because it’s going to be a difficult season now, whatever happens, to get everyone motivated and get back on track. There’s a lot of uncertainty about everything, not just about rugby league but about life in general and with businesses.

“As long as everybody remains healthy, that’s the main imperative in the country; to look after people that need the help and hopefully this will get sorted sooner rather than later.”