The days of filing into the changing room to belt out the club song could be numbered.
Under AFL Victoria's return to play guidelines, spectators granted entry into the region's ovals will be banned from change rooms and the field of play.
Only 1000 spectators will be allowed to attend matches this season.
Junior or reserves players who stay behind after their game will form part of the capacity limit. Players, coaches and support staff directly involved with the game are exempt.
The protocols, developed in line with the state government, will also require coaches and support staff to wear face masks outdoors when they can't socially distance, footballs to be sanitised between quarters in matches, and bans high-fives and handshakes.
AFL Wimmera Mallee area manager Jason Muldoon didn't expect the spectator limit to affect Wimmera and Horsham District league matches.
"The reality is, are we going to get crowds over 1000? Probably not," he told the Mail-Times.
"It's probably not going to be an issue 99 per cent of the time. But come finals time it will be, so we'll have to put contingency plans in place there."
If grounds allow vehicles to be parked around the oval, spectators will be encouraged to remain in their car.
Clubs will be required to appoint a COVID-19 safety officer to ensure restrictions are adhered to and social distancing is maintained.
"Any non-compliance to the Victorian State Government's directions and restrictions should be reported to Victoria Police," the return to play protocols state.
Muldoon sympathised that the guidelines could be an extra burden on clubs.
"Certainly there some difficulties within the protocols, but the reality is we need to adopt them to give ourselves the best opportunity to play," he said.
"That's the crux of it. We're going to have to do it if we're going to play."
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Players will need to adjust to new habits on the field as well.
All playing kit will need to be sanitised between training sessions and games, and players must disinfect mouth guards after each use and avoid removing them unless necessary.
Teams must also limit coming together in huddles during training and quarter-time breaks.
Muldoon said the protocols offered hope for football's return but was wary of changing circumstances.
"It's certainly a progression on where we were last year when it was clearly: 'we're not playing'," he said.
"AFL Victoria has done a lot of work with the government to get to this point where we're planning to play.
"But, as you can see, it's a very fluid situation. A couple of outbreaks in hotel quarantine changes people's attitudes."
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