Shepparton News

SHOT TO PIECES

GOULBURN VALLEY LEAGUE HAS HAND FORCED BY PANDEMIC AS WALLS COME CRASHING DOWN ON SEASON

- By LIAM NASH

The curtain has been pulled on Goulburn Valley League finals.

News broke from the boardroom about midday yesterday, with chairman David Roff citing the call to cancel the post-season was made with the community’s health and safety in mind, especially considerin­g Shepparton’s recent COVID-19 outbreak.

“This is not a decision we have made lightly,” Roff said.

“The inability of metro-based players to travel, as well as NSW restrictio­ns placed significan­t strain on clubs in terms of player availabili­ty for games played on August 14.

“The announceme­nt last week of a lockdown across regional Victoria saw the board make the decision to cancel the remaining two rounds of the home and away season.”

The decision means premiershi­ps have been awarded to current ladder leaders in each grade.

Echuca took out all four football f lags, Shepparton United prevailed in A-grade, B-reserve and 17-andunder netball, while the Murray Bombers and Shepparton took out the B-grade and 15-and-under gongs respective­ly.

This comes days after a discussion to assess the fate of finals.

Monday night had all 12 of its member clubs meet with the board at a round table, where according to a statement released by the league, most were in agreeance it was over.

Roff also said the unfolding COVID-19 situation in regional Victoria only accelerate­d the decision to pull the pin on this year’s finals series.

“The current outbreak in Shepparton has seen a number of schools, both secondary and primary, listed as Tier 1 exposure sites and has put entire households into 14-day home isolation,” he said.

“There are now also confirmed cases in regional Victoria.

“This causes an even more substantia­l impact on players as well as officials at multiple clubs across the league, as there is now over a third of the region’s population in isolation across the Goulburn Valley region.

“Two presidents are currently in 14-day quarantine, as is league operations manager Jo Spencer.”

In addition to health concerns, the board took into considerat­ion the financial burden of the shortened season for clubs.

“The growing case numbers are making the easing of restrictio­ns on September 2 highly unlikely and, even if restrictio­ns were to ease, we could quickly find ourselves back in another snap lockdown which could see finals further impacted,” Roff said.

“Further to that, we are still a long way off spectators being allowed back at games. We ultimately had to make the call in order to provide clarity to everyone at all of our clubs.”

It was further announced the Morrison and Wellman Family Medal Night would not be held in person and would move to an online broadcast at a time and date to be advised.

“This is an extraordin­ary situation that is complex and constantly evolving and, whilst we are disappoint­ed, we know that we have made the best decision for our communitie­s,” league operations manager Jo Spencer said.

“The GVL understand­s that this continues to be a trying time for everyone and would like to take this opportunit­y to thank all our club volunteers, club executives and committees, players, community members, our valued partners and AFL Goulburn Murray for their patience and ongoing support as we navigate through these unpreceden­ted times.”

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