MORE than $4000 worth of equipment and supplies needed to support junior rugby league players will have to be replaced.
The much needed items were stolen from the Bomaderry Sports Complex.
Members of the the Bomaderry Swamp Rats Junior Rugby League committee, following their first day of rugby league for 2020, locked up their facility at 4.30pm on Saturday.
More than a day later, Swamp Rats president Steve McConville received a phone call from a council worker, whose team had been painting the change-rooms at the facility ahead of the Koori Knockout - which has now been postponed until 2021.
"I received a phone call from one of the painters at 7.30am on Monday alerting me to the situation," McConville said.
The worker called McConville because he thought it was firstly "strange' the gate wasn't locked.
When the worker drove in, his worst fears were realised - the canteen doors were wide open.
"As soon as they called me, I phoned Lisa [his wife] and asked her to have a look," McConville said.
"Lisa went down [to the facility], took a couple of photos but didn't touch anything, as the police and forensics soon turned up and began their investigations into the incident."
After the police had concluded their investigation, on Tuesday, McConville and his wife headed to the facility, which the council has put temporary locks on, to look at the damages.
"We went through and had an exact look at what the thieves had taken," he said.
"They broke the lock on the big fridge and completely cleaned it out - as well as the freezer.
"They took all the lollies, chocolates, ice-blocks and chips from the backroom too."
Other items that are missing include old jerseys, hoodies, two-way radios, balls, ball-pumps, tees, a tub full of washing equipment, first aid supplies, electrical tape, strapping tape, scissors, barbecue equipment, cooking spray and bacon.
"Thankfully none of our shorts or socks supplies were in that storage facility, otherwise they'd be gone too," McConville said.
This incident caps off what has been a really tough start to 2020, which already includes the bushfires, floods and COVID-19.
"This is just devastating, especially when you consider everything that's already gone on this year," McConville said.
"Everyone knew rugby league, like all other sports, had been put on hold the past few months and the first weekend we finally get back on the field, something like this happens.
"All the volunteers at the club have put in a mountain of work with Group Seven and NSWRL to get the teams back on the field.
"However, for low-lives to come in and do something like this to all our parents and kids is really disheartening."
McConville believes this isn't the first time thieves have tried to break into the facility.
"About this time last year, when there was also heavy rain, we had an attempted break-in," he said.
"Coincidentally, it was a similar time both Bomaderry Public School and the Bomaderry Pool were broken into.
"I believe they decided to do this when it's raining so the surrounding houses can't hear the noise they make, because with the crowbar they've left behind and I assume it would make quite a racket.
"Last year they prized through the gate but couldn't get through the timber door - they learnt from their previous mistakes.
"Once they got in, they emptied everything they could see into tubs and bags and loaded up their cars, before driving away."
McConville urged anyone with information about the incident to contact Nowra police on 4421 9699, Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au