With regional Victoria still in the dark as to when community sport can return, leagues have scrambled to provide roadmaps outlining how their finals series may look.
The Wimmera Football Netball League reduced their series to a top-four, two-week process, which could eventually become just a top-two grand final if sport can't return until October 2. If community sport hasn't returned by October 2 the season will be abandoned and no winners declared.
The Horsham District Football Netball League have decided to wait until further Government direction on the return of community sport, before announcing their finals structure. The league has decided however, that its conclusion date will be Sunday October 3 and that if regional Victoria remains in lockdown on September 21 with no end date announced, the senior season will be cancelled.
As confusing and tough as this is for everyone involved there is also the added element of making sure players are fit to play if community sport is to return.
As of and including the weekend of Saturday September 4, three consecutive rounds of football and netball will have been lost to regional Victoria's latest lockdown. Although players can still do their two-hours daily exercise with one other person, it wouldn't compare to the rigours of whole-team training sessions and actual matches.
Under regional Victoria's Covid Functional Framework it states that "if 4-6 consecutive Rounds have been abandoned, then the season shall recommence at the next scheduled round following a minimum of 7-day training period at the discretion of the league but not less than a minimum 7-day training period".
AFL Wimmera-Mallee manager Jason Muldoon confirmed that this would apply to the region's leagues.
"They were guidelines; the clubs I think have agreed to, if they could have a week of training they would be happy with that, depending on how long this goes on for," Muldoon said.
"Although they're in the guidelines there is a bit of flexibility around what that training is.
"It will depend on where we are in the calendar and how much time we've got to work with. If we haven't played for seven weeks it's pretty hard for the guys and girls to come out and play with one training session."
The framework also states that if more than six consecutive rounds are missed a minimum of a 14-day training period must take place before players can return.
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