Leagues pull the pin

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Nathan Weather­head

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.

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