K rock Football

Junior season canned

Action from an under-17 match between Torquay and St Mary’s. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE return to Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions in regional Victoria has left AFL Barwon with “no choice” but to cancel junior football and netball for the remainder of the winter season.

With the end of the six-week lockdown period coinciding with the planned conclusion of the shortened season in mid-September, the AFL Barwon Commission could only make one decision when it met on Monday night.

Despite the restrictions not coming into effect until late Wednesday, netball scheduled for Tuesday night has also been called-off.

“The State Government’s announcement was clear-cut from a community sport point of view, and we must accept it and continue to prioritise the health and safety of our community, which has been AFL Barwon’s constant commitment through the COVID-19 period,” Region General Manager Will McGregor said.

“We are immensely fortunate and proud to have been able to play three rounds of junior sport this season.

“To see the happiness in players faces and the joy it brought to parents, clubs, volunteers and entire sporting communities made the hard work from everyone worth it.”

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McGregor says it was fitting the final matches played were on the annual Read the Play Round, which focuses on the mental health of young people.

“The issue is immensely important, and I encourage anyone- young or old – to look after yourselves through this difficult period and reach out to your strong communities and AFL Barwon’s many mental health partners who are here to help,” he said.

McGregor also paid tribute to those involved in local football and netball for there work during one of the most challenging years for both sports.

“The region will scarcely face a tougher challenge than what 2020 has and will continue to present, but I personally thank you all for your efforts,” he said.

“Our region is so lucky to have the passion and care that our clubs and people possess, and the work undertaken to get out on the field and court in a safe and measured manner has been nothing short of incredible.

“Sunday brought the news we didn’t want to hear, but it ensures the safety of all Victorian’s, and we will come back stronger than ever.”

Twitter: @tom_king79