K rock Football

Door ajar for BFL, GFL finals

Ocean Grove captain Jake Wilkie in action during the Grubbers’ Battle of the Bridge win in 2021. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE potential lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in regional Victoria as soon as next week has AFL Barwon hopeful of completing football and netball competitions under its umbrella.

If community sport were given the green light to return, the BFL would pick up where it left off at semi-final weekend.

Torquay meets Modewarre in the second semi-final, while Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove will go head-to-head in a Battle of the Bridge first semi-final.

The GFL last week revealed plans to move to a top-six for the first time, with semi-finals between South Barwon and St Joseph’s and Bell Park and Geelong West to kick things off.

The winner of the Swans-Joeys clash would then meet second-placed Colac in a preliminary final, while minor premiers St Mary’s would clash with the Dragons or Giants.

A start on the weekend of September 11-12 would see both grand finals played across AFL Grand Final weekend, with a double-header involving both leagues not ruled out.

Based on our Return to Play proposal, we’ve indicated we could start on September 11 and still finish up on the weekend of September 25 for the senior Bellarine and GFL competitions,” acting regional general manager Sean Atkinson said.

Sunday, October 3, has been set as the final date AFL Barwon would be willing to play, which means both the GFL and BFL could start as late as the weekend of September 18-19 to get three weeks of finals in.

If restrictions aren’t eased enough until the week of September 25-26, grand finals would be held on October 3 between BFL second semi-finalists Torquay and Modewarre, and GFL top-two and St Mary’s and Colac (GFL).

“You’ve got cricket that starts on October 2 in the GCA (Geelong Cricket Association), and we’re really mindful of their season,” Atkinson said.

“We’ve been working really closely with (president) Rob Vines and the GCA board over the past 6-8 weeks to come to some arrangement.

“So, we’re really mindful of dipping into cricket season too much.”

However, the cloud over the GDFL season has appeared to get darker with news a metropolitan lockdown could be in place until September 23, when it’s likely 70 per cent of Victorians will have had their first vaccine dose.

Last week, the league, which has an executive meeting scheduled for tonight, revealed it would cancel the season if Werribee Centrals were unable to play by the weekend of September 18.

President Neville Whitley says the latest information released by the Victorian Government will be up for discussion.

Twitter: @tom_king79