Sport

Plug pulled by PDFNL

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Picola District Football Netball League has cancelled all open age competitions for this season.

At a club delegates’ meeting on Monday night, the decision was made to call off the senior football and netball competitions due to impacts caused by Coronavirus.

The league released a statement following the meeting saying it would not be feasible for open age grades to compete this year.

The statement said most clubs did not have confidence in restrictions being implemented to allow for play to resume.

The decision comes two weeks before the proposed start date of July 11 and Sunday’s announcement that Yarroweyah had withdrawn from the season.

‘‘We have always been pro-active and positive in progressing with the 2020 season,’’ the statement read.

‘‘After extensive research and thorough consultation with all clubs, partners, stakeholders and many government departments the PDFNL is disappointed that the open age competitions have become infeasible.

‘‘Two weeks from that starting date, the majority of our clubs simply do not have confidence in predicted or required restrictions being implemented to allow for open age competitions to be viable.’’

While the senior competitions have been called off, a decision on the junior competitions is still yet to be finalised.

‘‘The league is committed to exploring competitive opportunities for our junior competitions and will work with our clubs, commercial partners, AFL Vic, Netball Vic and councils to establish the best options to facilitate these competitions,’’ the statement read.

Monday’s decision means there will be no senior football and netball seasons played across the region this winter.

Last week, Goulburn Valley League and Murray Football Netball League cancelled their seasons.

Local club presidents were contacted for their thoughts on the decision to call off the senior competition.

Their responses were as follows:

Michael Norman (Blighty president):

 ‘‘I think a sensible decision was made as the health and safety of players, club members and supporters is more important at this stage.

‘‘We’re also glad that it’s over and that we have clarity on the situation.

‘‘We must give credit to the PDFNL board and staff for doing everything within their power to try and get a season up and running.

‘‘In regards to the junior footy competition, we would prefer to just hold some kind of round robin locally, rather than holding a season among the PDFNL.

‘‘There is no use having a junior comp if we can’t hold a senior competition, but we can still give the juniors something to look forward to and I feel a round robin between clubs in the local area is the best way around that.’’

Andrew Pridham (Mathoura president):

‘‘Our main concern is the health of people involved in our club.

‘‘This situation is very serious, and clearly it is getting a hold on us again.

‘‘It seems as though things are going to get worse before they get better, and we don’t want to start the season when it could be off a few weeks later.

‘‘We’ve still got huge concerns when it comes to holding a junior competition.

‘‘I’m struggling to fathom the difference with the kids playing and the adults playing, particularly when you need adults to volunteer to coach, umpire and take their kids to the games.

‘‘I understand what the league is trying to do but I think the risk is not worth it.

‘‘I also think by not making a call on it yet is just prolonging the agony.

‘‘We as a club are sitting on the side of not wanting to compete as this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets any better.’’

John Glowrey (Deniliquin Rovers president):

‘‘It’s obviously disappointing that the seniors season can’t go ahead but it’s completely understandable given what is happening in the world.

‘‘The club wants to thank the board, and particularly Shane Railton, for persevering with trying to keep the competition going and all of their hard work and research they put in to try and achieve holding a 2020 season.

‘‘In regards to the juniors, we feel it’s very important to hold some sort of competition for them.

‘‘We’ve had our thirds and fourths footy teams, as well as all junior netball teams, training since we were allowed to train in groups of 10.

‘‘We’d love to give the kids an outlet and proper competition considering all the hard work they’ve put in.

‘‘I believe the league is looking in to a few options like holding a shortened season, or even a round robin to keep the juniors out on the field and court.’’