K rock Football

No crowds? No good – Bennett

Corio coach Darren Bennett (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

CORIO co-coach Darren Bennett fears playing in front of no crowds would be more costly for local clubs than a truncated season going ahead.

A day after AFL Victoria revealed it expects to make an announcement next month on its plans for community football, Bennett has raised concerns about club’s playing in front of no one.

“We don’t have a fence, so people are going to come,” he said.

“I don’t know who is going to be there to turn them away if it got to that.

“And how are local footy clubs going to survive if you don’t have gate takings, and you can’t open your clubrooms after the game, and you can’t have functions  – how can you raise money?

“It’s going to make everything a lot harder for local clubs.”

Bennett has joined St Albans co-coach Ben Patrick in conceding there may not be any action in 2020.

“I’m leaning towards the season getting cancelled; that’s my thoughts,” Bennett said. “Obviously we’re no experts – we’re waiting for the experts’ opinion.

“I was talking to Joel (son and co-coach) the other day about cricket playing towards the end of the year with no crowds.

“So, if cricket’s got no crowds, then local football’s got no crowds.

“I can’t see how we’re going to go ahead, to be honest.”

Bennett said his players are disappointed at not being able to show what was expected to be a significant improvement after successive winless seasons at VIVA Energy Oval.

We did so much work – we started pre-season in early November,” he said.

“We had really good numbers, the boys had put in a lot of work, and we were going to get some reward for effort, hopefully.

“All the players I’ve spoken to are shattered we didn’t get to that starting line.”

However, the good news for the Devils is that both Bennetts are keen to be in charge in 2021.

“There have been whispers the club is pretty keen to talk to us, so we’ll get that done sooner rather than later,” he said.

Twitter: @tom_king