AFL Barwon believes players will eventually run out onto the field in 2020. Photo: MICHAEL CHAMBERS

AFL Barwon hopeful play will start this year

March 26, 2020 BY

AFL BARWON is retaining some level of confidence there will be some form of local football played in 2020.

The local governing body fell into line with every other competition across Australia on March 17 when it was announced play would be postponed until at least May 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Region general manager Will McGregor is hopeful local seasons, including the Bellarine Football Netball League, will see action.

“We are confident, given the support all of the nation has had trying to curtail the issue, that we should get a season in,” McGregor said. “What that looks like, we’re still unsure, and we’ll monitor it as it changes each day. But, I’m very hopeful and mindful of keeping that community connection. I hope we do the opportunity to play multiple seasons across our region, and I’m confident we will. I’m sure it will provide much relief when that time comes.”

For the BFNL’s 10 clubs, it is now a waiting game.

“A lot of it’s been taken out of our hands; it seems like it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Drysdale co-coach Luke Matthews said. “The priority with the playing group is their health and safety and wellbeing mentally.

“There are so many factors. Guys have got all different types of work, some guys have got kids, mortgages…”

BFNL senior football coaches contacted by the Times News Group believe a minimum of nine rounds, which would see each club playing each other once, is needed for the season to go ahead.

With AFL Barwon reticent to play into the traditional cricket start month of October, play would need to start in late June for a nine-round home-and-away season and four-week finals series to be completed by the end of September.

As a result of the postponement, football clearances were halted on Thursday last week.

“A freeze on transfers will allow volunteers a period of time where they do not need to monitor transfers,” McGregor said in an email to clubs. “At the moment, pending transfers (from March 19) will still be processed following the AFL National Registration and Transfer Regulations.”

Tom King is the editor of Head to the site for more regional football coverage.