K rock Football

GDFL proposes four options

Action from the 2019 GDFL preliminary final between Bannockburn and Werribee Centrals. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

PUSHING the grand final back to early October, a top-four finals series, or scrapping the season altogether are among the return to play options put forward to GDFL clubs.

The league executive met earlier this week where it has come up with four scenarios based on the lifting of COVID restrictions, which has been distributed to clubs in the past 24 hours and will be discussed in-depth on Thursday night.

The first option, based on restrictions being eased to allow community sport from September 2, is to play a traditional top-five and hold the grand final on the AFL Grand Final public holiday on Friday, September 24.

Option two would come into play if restrictions weren’t eased until September 9, where a traditional top five would remain and the grand final would be played on Saturday, October 2, dependent on cricket.

If restrictions aren’t eased until September 16, the GDFL is proposing a top-four knockout finals series, where first would play fourth, and second would meet third on the weekend of September 18-19.

The grand final would be held on Friday, September 24.

If restrictions are not eased enough to allow community sport by September 16, the season will be cancelled and a cup presented to the minor premier in all football and netball grades.

“We’d like to see the finished and have a premier team; that’s what most coaches have wanted,” president Neville Whitley said.

“It’s player welfare we’ve got to look after as well and the clubs in general.

“The longer it (restrictions) get pushed out, the more chance of us not having grand finalists.

“But, we’re hoping that can be hoping that can be overcome.”

Whitley is also hoping when restrictions are eased there is no divide between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, which would allow Werribee Centrals to compete.

As well as their senior football team, the Centurions have their reserves and under-19 football, and five grades of netball qualified for finals.

“With the government bringing in restrictions in regional Victoria, it’s made it an even ballgame with having the whole state locked down,” Whitley said.

“So we’ve been able to revisit (our finals) and have a look at the dates, which we’ve put forward to club presidents for them to have a look at.”

Meanwhile, chairman Craig Keating has released a statement saying AFL Barwon will do all it can to finish the seasons it administers.

A return to play framework is expected to be released later this week.

Twitter: @tom_king79

Option 1
If the restrictions are lifted by Thursday, September 2 2021, the GDFNL 2021 Finals Series would continue for all football and netball clubs and teams able to participate, as follows:

Saturday 4 September 2021 – Qualifying Finals
Sunday 5 September 2021 – Elimination Finals
Saturday 11 September 2021 – 2nd Semi-Finals
Sunday 12 September 2021 – 1st Semi-Finals
Saturday 18 September 2021 – Preliminary Finals
Friday 24 September 2021* – Grand Finals

Option 2
If the restrictions are not lifted by Thursday, September 2, 2021, however, are lifted by Thursday, September 9, 2021, the GDFNL 2021 Finals Series would continue for all football and netball clubs and teams able to participate, as follows:

Saturday 11 September 2021 – Qualifying Finals
Sunday 12 September 2021 – Elimination Finals
Saturday 18 September 2021 – 2nd Semi-Finals
Sunday 19 September 2021 – 1st Semi-Finals
Friday 24 September 2021* – Preliminary Finals
Saturday 2 October 2021 – Grand Finals

Option 3
If the restrictions are not lifted by Thursday, September 9 2021, however, are lifted by Thursday, September 16 2021, the GDFNL 2021 Finals Series would continue for all football and netball clubs and teams able to participate, as follows:

The Final Series would be changed to a Top 4 Clubs knockout competition:

Saturday 18 September 2021 – 1st Ladder versus 4th Ladder – winner Grand Final
Sunday 19 September 2021 – 2nd Ladder versus 3rd Ladder – winner Grand Final
Friday 24 September 2021* – Winner 1st vs 4th versus Winner 2nd vs 3rd – Grand Finals

* Friday 24 September 2021 is a Victorian public holiday – day before AFL Grand Final Day

Option 4
If the restrictions are not lifted by Thursday, September 16 2021:

The GDFNL 2021 Finals Series would not continue.

A cup will be presented to the Minor Premiers in all football and netball competition grades.