Season over for Finley seniors

By Daniel Hughes

Finley Cats’ senior footballers and netballers will move their focus to 2021 following the announcement that the 2020 Murray Football Netball League season has been cancelled.

League officials and club presidents met on Wednesday, June 24 and it was confirmed at 11am on the following day that the season had been cancelled.

MFNL general manager Dale Norman believes it is the only viable decision to ensure long term sustainability of the clubs and the league.

‘‘Given the recent tightening of restrictions by the Victorian Government, the Murray FNL executive and clubs concluded it would be socially irresponsible to continue,’’ Norman said.

‘‘There were several other factors to consider including the ability of clubs to generate revenue, it is difficult to run a season with minimal spectators, and no clear indication of a pathway moving forward.’’

Finley Cats president Ashley Haynes said the league were united with the ultimate decision to cancel the season.

“All club presidents agreed that it would be irresponsible to continue given the restrictions currently in place,” Haynes said.

“The Cats would like to thank our sponsors, members and supporters for their support throughout this unusual time.

"The ever changing landscape has made times difficult for all.

“Our community involvement is what drives us as a club, thank you.”

The Murray FNL will now focus on the possibility a junior competition for football and netball in the coming months, if restrictions allow and should clubs wish to be involved.

“We will continue to work on a format that will enable junior grades to play some games in August and September,” Haynes said.

“It’s crucial that our junior grade players continue to develop their skills this season. They are our future stars."

District leagues like the MFNL, Goulburn Valley League and the Ovens & Murray League have been discussing season options together over several months, as well as with AFL GM regional general manager Jamie Macri.

‘‘Time was against us in the end,” Norman said.

“To play a compromised competition and with no clear direction for crowds, the only viable decision to ensure the long-term sustainability of the clubs was to cancel the season.

‘‘Revenue streams for clubs have been impacted due to the inability to generate sponsorship and membership sales.

‘‘Clubs also expressed concerns about the additional burden on volunteers to comply with COVID-19 protocols and procedures, community health and the impact on older volunteers, the inability to manage crowds and implement social distancing requirements and the ongoing confusion over cross border protocols.’’