Leagues pull the pin
Senior football and netball will not be played this season with the four leagues - Mid Gippsland, Gippsland, West Gippsland and Ellinbank and District Leagues deciding to cancel all games.
Ellinbank and District will not officially cancel its season until July 1, but clubs have been notified that there will not be any senior or junior football, with a vote of 9-1 in favour of cancelling juniors alongside the seniors in a meeting held last week.
“We did the utmost to get the junior competition going, but only one club was willing to try in the end. We looked at all possibilities, but we just couldn’t find one that worked,” operations manager Ken Moore said.
The Mid Gippsland Football league was the first of the three dominos to fall last week, with a press release announcing the decision.
President Gary Matthews outlined the challenges the league faced and the league decided it was the most socially responsible decision to abandon.
Spokesman Rob Popplestone said while some clubs were hoping to play, some weren’t and with a one in all in policy, there was no other choice. “It’s one in all in, so we had some clubs who were hoping to go ahead and some who were apprehensive to start, so in the end the decision was made to cancel the 2020 season,” he said.
No decision has been made on junior football, however, the Mid Gippsland and Alberton leagues are in talks of possibly playing against each other in a junior competition with a decision to come soon.
The West Gippsland league also held a meeting on Friday night, which all clubs decided to cancel all games.
There was plenty of discussion at the meeting, which included the hope that junior football and netball would be played this season. Clubs encouraged those who would like to participate to contact their club so the league could see which clubs would field teams in each competition.
The under 16s and 18s will be playing in football and under 11s, 13s, 15s and 17s in netball.
Warragul Industrials president Dale Bainbridge said they hoped to see juniors play.
“We are committed to our thirds and under 16s starting, as well as our junior netballers. I think juniors playing is important and most clubs are committed to playing,” he said.
The Gippsland League held a meeting on Saturday and decided to also abandon the senior season but will begin junior football and netball on July 18. Under 16s and 18s football will go ahead, while under 13s, 15s and 17s netball will also run in 2020. A fixture is to be released shortly.
The fixture will consist of a nine-week home and away season played for premiership points, before a four week finals series commences, with the grand final to be held on October 10.
In the largest junior competition, the Warragul and District Junior Football league, president Rob Reid said he was excited to see the juniors take the field once again during the weekend of July 18 and 19.
“We have all 15 clubs playing which is fantastic. We are really excited and looking forward to it. Obviously, each day we wait and see and things can change, but we have our fingers crossed that we can get underway on July 18,” Reid said.
There will be eight rounds of football played, with an emphasis on development in season 2020, with finals yet to be decided on and a fixture to be released soon.