Shepparton News

Another victory for virus


The Goulburn Valley region’s talented netball and football products have been dealt a blow following the cancellati­on of the VFL and VNL seasons.

The state league competitio­ns announced the decision to pull the pin on their respective campaigns last week.

The competitio­ns were forced to make the difficult call after the Victorian Government extended its lockdown.

It will mean the VFL won’t crown a premier, however, Footscray has been identified as the minor premier for its 10-0 undefeated campaign.

Geelong, Southport and Box Hill Hawks were the remaining teams left battling it out for glory after the VFL finals series was adjusted.

The season is over for Mooroopna’s Nathan Drummond (Footscray), Shepparton’s Luke Smith, Shepparton United’s Jye Chalcraft (Geelong) and Kyabram’s Rhys Miller and Tatura’s Tom Miller (Southport).

The AFL’s head of talent pathways and state league competitio­ns Tristan Salter said all four clubs were consulted before the decision was made to cancel the season.

“Footy clubs are the heartbeat of many local communitie­s and the identity of our clubs and our league will not be defined by the outcome of the 2020 and 2021 season,” Salter said.

“We acknowledg­e this is very disappoint­ing news for the players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans of the VFL and commend every VFL club who has worked tirelessly to ensure a united approach to the outcome of the 2021 season.

“We have explored many scenarios as to how we could still proceed in Victoria and interstate over the last few weeks, but it ultimately provided too great a challenge for all involved.”

But it’s not all bad news for the VFLW.

The women’s state league competitio­n is holding on to the hope of Geelong and Collingwoo­d having the chance to contest the VFLW grand final.

Mooroopna product Tamara Smith and Benalla’s Becky Webster last played for the Cats in their stunning preliminar­y final win on July 31.

Netball Victoria confirmed on Friday that the VNL season and state titles had been cancelled.

The region has a plethora of netball stars in the VNL’s division one and junior competitio­ns.

“We’re devastated to have had to make this decision again in 2021, particular­ly for the players, coaches, officials and administra­tors who have worked hard to prepare for these events,” Netball Victoria’s general manager Rebekah Webster said.

“Over the last two years, the Victoria netball community has been incredibly resilient, committed and able to adapt to the everchangi­ng landscape and we very much appreciate the support and collaborat­ion we’ve seen between Netball Victoria and the wider netball community.

“We will continue to remain engaged with Netball Victoria members with updates and online offerings to keep that passion for the sport ignited.”

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