Local leagues put on ice

By Jamie Lowe

All district football and netball leagues have been advised to be put on hold until at least May 31 under recommendations from the AFL.

The ongoing Coronavirus outbreak has forced the hand of AFL Goulburn Murray in making the tough decision to strongly recommend postponing all competitions, training and practice matches until June.

‘‘To all our AFL Goulburn Murray clubs, coaches, umpires, players, volunteers and broader community, this decision has been made based on protecting the health and well-being of fans, players, umpires, officials, partners, volunteers and community,’’ AFLGM region general manager Jamie Macri said.

‘‘This is our number one priority. We are determined to be part of the whole community response to slow the COVID-19 virus down — and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

‘‘We as a community are all facing many challenges.

‘‘By taking the necessary precautions and through supporting each other, we hope that we can limit the impact of COVID-19 and ensure that we get back to playing the game that we all enjoy and love, and most importantly, ensure the safety and health of our community.”

Meetings were held during the week as the AFL and its constituents worked to present a united front on the issue.

‘‘Following a series of meetings over the last number of days involving the AFL and all state and territory CEOs, recommendations have been made in relation to community football due to the ongoing health crisis caused by COVID-19,’’ Macri said.

‘‘Consistent with the decision yesterday in relation to state league football and the national and state talent programs, all AFL and AFL state association-managed or operated leagues along with the

NAB AFL Auskick centre programs currently operating or set to begin, will be postponed until 31st May 2020.’’

Support will continue for all leagues and clubs across the coming months as the reality of a coronavirus postponement hits.

‘‘It is paramount that support and engagement in community football continues during these times,’’ Macri said.

‘‘It is vital players, coaches, umpires, administrators, supporters, sponsors, volunteers and kids retain close links to their local clubs, Auskick centres and wider league network.

‘‘The AFL will continue to meet with state and territory associations in relation to community football and will continually review this decision based on the changing circumstances and advice from government and relevant health departments and medical experts.

‘‘AFL Goulburn Murray will communicate any updates and provide advice in a timely manner.’’

Murray Football Netball League has postponed its season until June 6 as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the district sporting scene.

Following AFLGM’s advice, the MFNL quickly moved to make this a reality and now will search for fixture alternatives that suit the need of the league’s 14 clubs.

This saw the Deniliquin Rams cancel all training sessions until further notice, putting a pause on their preparations for the 2020 season.

‘‘The Murray Football Netball League executive, based on advice received from AFL Victoria and AFL Goulburn Murray, advises the commencement of the 2020 Murray FNL season will be postponed until June 6,’’ a statement released Tuesday night read.

‘‘The decision was made due to concerns for the coronavirus and the need to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and the broader community.

‘‘Murray FNL will explore fixturing alternatives, however, acknowledge the situation continues to evolve and any decision may be subject to change.