Auckland Rugby League (ARL) has confirmed plans are finalised to return to play following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Returns have been staggered by grade in order to help clubs comply with the various mandatory health and safety protocols, the ARL said.

Fox Memorial Trophy 2019 Champions, Howick Hornets are fizzing to get on the park in 2020.

Their first assignment is competing for the coveted Stormont Shield against last year’s final opponents, the Mt Albert Lions, on Saturday June 20, at the Hornets’ Nest at Paparoa Park.

Howick Hornets club captain Denie Allan says there is “plenty riding on it with the rivalry and bragging rights” and added he was hoping for a big turnout of sideline-starved supporters.

Howick Hornets were victorious at last year’s Fox Memorial Final

The club is also holding a charity match on Sunday June 21 at Paparoa Park to benefit “club legend” Damion Miller who had an accident in the water in February and seriously damaged his spinal cord and is now paralysed from the neck down.

The match sees a Howick Hornets Masters (over-35) side take on the #UP_4DAMO invitational side.  The game kicks off at 2pm and the club bar opens from 3. The Hornets band of supporters, The Firm, will be running raffles with great prizes donated by local sponsors.

You can help support Damo’s recovery at

ARL Season kick off dates

June 20: SAS Fox Memorial Premiership, SAS Fox Memorial Premiership premier 1st (reserves), Crown Lift Trucks Fox Championship and Crown Lift Trucks Fox Championship premier 1st (reserves).

June 27/28: Farrelly Photos Women’s Premiership and Championship, Ray Cranch Cup (premier 2nd) and all other grades U6-U12 (including girls’ grades in that age range).

July 4: U13-U19 grades (including girls’ grades in that age range).