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COVID chaos for local sport as matches abandoned

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By Colin MacGillivray

RIDDELL District Football Netball League clubs are still waiting to learn whether round eight matches that were called off due to Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown will be rescheduled or abandoned.

League general manager Jordan Doyle said officials were waiting to see if the lockdown would be extended before making a decision on whether matches from the weekend would be played at a later date.

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“We haven’t made a decision yet. It will depend on what happens this weekend,” he said.

“If we just miss the one game, we’re looking to reschedule hopefully. The Queen’s Birthday weekend is a bye for the whole league, so that could be an option.

“If we do lose more than one round, then we’ll have to reconsider our options because there’s no point making up one game if we’ve missed two.

“We’re just playing it by ear over the next couple of days and hopefully we know something by Wednesday.”

Football and netball competitions in the Northern Football Netball League and AFL Outer East, as well as Wallan Basketball domestic games, were all cancelled at the weekend, meaning they will not be played at a later date.

Kilmore football coach Nathan Phillips said he was disappointed the season had been disrupted just as the Blues were finding form.

“It is what it is, but we’re disappointed we didn’t play last week. All we can do is back in our boys to stay fit until we can get back to training and playing and hopefully pick up where we left off,” he said.

“Every club is in the same boat, so it’s not as if it disadvantages anyone more than anyone else.”

Phillips said some of the team’s veteran players could use the break as a chance to freshen up.

“We were probably going to rest a couple last week through general soreness. A couple of the older guys might enjoy having the extra couple of weeks off or whatever it ends up being, but it’s definitely not ideal to have the brakes pulled in the middle of the season,” he said.

“You almost need a couple of weeks of training before you start playing again just to make sure there are no injuries, but whether we’ll get that I’m not sure.”

Phillips said he did not mind the matches being cancelled instead of rescheduled as long as all teams were able to play each other twice during the year.

“I think you’ve got to cop what they decide to do. My opinion doesn’t matter, nor is it going to change it, so we have to play on,” he said.

Kilmore had been due to face Lalor in NFNL division three, while Mernda missed its match against Heidelberg West and Laurimar was unable to take on winless Reservoir. In division one, Whittlesea missed out on hosting Hurstbridge.

RDFNL matches abandoned at the weekend included a top-of-the-table clash between Wallan and Riddell, Romsey hosting the Western Rams and Lancefield against Woodend-Hesket.

Broadford was set to play AFL Outer East division two leader Kinglake.

Wallan Basketball president Gary O’Brien said domestic rounds had been cancelled, but senior Big V competition would be rescheduled.

Big V games slated for this weekend will be rescheduled by Basketball Victoria, while Wallan domestic junior and senior rounds have been cancelled.

“From our point of view, you have two options: rescheduling or cancellation,” he said.

“We just don’t have the buffer in available weekends to reschedule a round.

“In the summer season, we rescheduled a round to the first weekend of the school holidays because of COVID, and it was really awkward. People went away.

“If you cancel the round no doubt you’ve compromised the draw slightly, but if you don’t cancel the round and you reschedule it, then certain players won’t be able to play and you’ll get compromised results anyway.

“The effort and the reorganisation of everyone’s lives is really hard, so we’ll take the lesser of the two evils and move on with it.”

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