Clubs get green light to train
OPTIMISM that community football will be played in some form in 2020 is growing with AFL Victoria giving the green light for sanctioned training to resume.
Clubs can start training on Monday, May 25 – almost two months after the COVID-19 brought the final stages of pre-season to a sudden halt.
However, restrictions have been applied that will see just 20 players on the oval at one time, with groups of 10 in separate halves of the field.
“The safety and wellbeing of our participants is our number one priority,” a statement from AFL Victoria said.
“As such, our return to play strategy has been focused on ensuring we have the clear endorsement of State Government and public health officials at every phase of return.
“Each state government is responsible for determining what level Australian football is in their State and approving when we can transition into the next stage.
“Following Victorian Government advice around the return of community sport this week, AFL Victoria will release its return to train protocols early next week and is endorsing a return to club sanctioned training from Monday, May 25.
“This timing will provide the opportunity to communicate our protocols with Leagues and allow volunteers and clubs time to digest the protocols, go through an education period and prepare themselves ahead of returning to club sanctioned training.”
Meanwhile, four-time Ash medallist Josh Finch believes his career could be extended thanks to the longer than expected break between seasons.
The 33-year-old has notched up 258 high-intensity games for Modewarre.
“It could be a blessing in disguise having a year off, to get rid of all of the niggles,” he said.
“I was feeling late last year playing that many games in a row; that’s why I rested the last game of the year before finals.
“But it could be a downturn as well. Not changing direction and doing all those things, it could create injuries for players as well.
“I’ll just see the body’s feeling at the end of this year. Hopefully, we get going and get a dozen games in – hopefully, we can play finals – and then I’ll see what it looks like.
“If we don’t get going, I’ll re-assess at the end of the year.”