AFL Barwon Region General Manager Will McGregor believes an entire community approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will hold the region in good stead following the postponement of all AFL Barwon seasons until May 31.
All football and netball seasons in the AFL Barwon region were postponed this week following AFL Victoria’s strong recommendation to community leagues. Large scale gatherings and training were also postponed until the end of May in an effort to stop the spread of the virus into clubs.
McGregor said support from all stakeholders has been imperative so far, and will continue to be.
“It’s evident through the conversations I’ve had in the last few weeks with all our stakeholders but particularly our club presidents that we are all in this together, and we’re committed to getting through this together,” he said speaking to K-Rock Football this week.
“Really, it’s about supporting our players, coaches, administrators, supporters, staff, volunteers and children and making sure they remain healthy.”
Whilst alternate fixture work is well under way for all competitions, McGregor said the operations team won’t be rushing a fixture.
“Given that we do have a little bit of time we don’t want to push something out too soon,” he said. “We want to assess the situation and hopefully get a really clear understanding of what the clubs want now and get a really fair a equitable fixture from it.”
With the AFL season going ahead on Thursday night, McGregor said whilst Community Football faces different challenges, he is still confident the 2020 season will go ahead in some form.
“We are confident given the support all of the nation has had trying to curtail this issue that we should get a season in,” he said. “What that looks like we’re still unsure and we’ll monitor it as it changes each day, but I’m very hopeful and mindful of keeping that community connection.
“I hope we do get the opportunity to play multiple seasons across our region and I’m confident we will. I’m sure it will provide much relief when that time comes.”
As for the season itself, a stretch for the football season to go into the traditional cricket season from October onwards looks unlikely at this stage for the AFL Barwon region.
“There has been some discussion around the possibility of extending the season into October if times allows, but we’ve made the initial decision to stick with our current time frame given the fact that there is that uncertainty,” McGregor said. “We don’t want to get to the end of the year coming into a finals series and there is a potential conflict with cricket and the facilities. We’d rather have some clear air at this point.”