Shepparton News

No dodging COVID-19 bullet


Picola District Football Netball League has made the decision to cancel its season.

Following a meeting of clubs and the board the league made the announceme­nt on Wednesday night to pull the pin on the remainder of this year’s campaign.

The league was scheduled to hold week one of finals on the weekend of August 21, but was forced to postpone after the region was plunged into lockdown.

No premiershi­p will be awarded, but a best-and-fairest count is still expected to be held.

With no “meaningful return” to training and play slated until late September and a burgeoning COVID-19 crisis across the region, operations manager Shane Railton said clubs couldn’t realistica­lly make the return for a potentiall­y condensed finals series.

“Clubs felt the players’ interest was starting to wane a little bit. And as such it was more appropriat­e to make a call now rather than later,” Railton said.

“We’ve got clubs that haven’t played since July 10.

“You’re talking about two-anda-half months and then going into a finals series that was potentiall­y going to be condensed — it just wasn’t going to happen.”

Railton said he had received word that one club had more than 80 per cent of its members confined to quarantine as a result of the current coronaviru­s outbreak.

“We also have members of our board who are currently facing quarantine,” he said.

“Which meant that we were talking 14 days until they were out of quarantine. We still highly suspect we’ll have more people go into quarantine this week.

“Rather than string everyone along and have everyone potentiall­y more exposed, we just made the decision to call it.”

The decision had the majority backing of clubs.

“There were 10 clubs who were completely against the season restarting,” Railton said.

“The remaining five were able to field some sides, but there were some who were prepared to withdraw.

“None of the clubs were interested in playing if it wasn’t a fullf ledged Victoria and New South Wales competitio­n.”

Picola District becomes the latest cross-border league to cancel its season, following Upper Murray Football Netball League and Sunraysia Football Netball League in their decision to bring an early end to their seasons.

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