K rock Football

Delay season call: GFL coaches

A GROUP of GFL coaches is urging the AFL Barwon Commission to consider delaying its decision on whether the 2020 season goes ahead.

The Commission is due to meet on Tuesday night, where it’s expecte d they will make their final call on a return to play.

However, the coaches want that date pushed back to after June 22 when further announcements are expected from the State Government on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, which may open the door for a return to community sport.

St Mary’s co-coach Travis Robertson revealed the majority of the GFL coaching fraternity had met twice remotely in the past fortnight for talks.

“We will communicate to our presidents our request, and hopefully that can be heard,” he said.

“We know some major leagues in Melbourne that have cancelled their seasons, while we’re aware of others who are delaying their decision, which is our preference.

“We’ve got other states with planned start dates, but making a decision next week concerns me that in August we’ll be looking at each other and going “if only?”.

GFL: KEAST “BETTER AND STRONGER”

Robertson also reiterated the importance of sport in our local community and the togetherness it creates.

“We only have to read the papers of late to understand the impact that isolation and the lack of connectivity can have on mental health.

“Football and netball communities create an opportunity for purpose in people’s lives.”

Newtown & Chilwell coach Damien McMahon said it would make sense to hold off.

“I know there’s a lot of people pushing for the decision to be made on the 9th (of June),” he said.

“But if anyone is pushing for the decision to be made on the 9th, well, they know what the decision is – it means we won’t be playing.

“If they were prepared to be patient for another couple of weeks, we might be a chance of getting the right result.

“At the moment, a week is a month with the decisions that are being made, so a decision next Tuesday versus a decision two Tuesdays after that could be significantly different.”

Geelong West coach Greg Mellor said his players were willing to wait.

“We surveyed our players and asked them what would be the latest time they would be prepared to train until without knowing,” he said.

“50 per cent of them said the 29th (of June), and that was on the proviso that the latest possible date to start would be on July 18.

“Another 20 per cent mentioned June 22.

“So, certainly, a large proportion of our playing group is keen for the club and the competition to explore all possible opportunities to create a meaningful season.”

Colac coach Rowan McSparron said delaying a decision would still leave enough time to get a season in where every club plays each other once.

“Even if we made the decision on the 22nd (of June) and we started (playing) on the 11th or 18th  of July, that still gives us two or three weeks of a shortened pre-season,” he said.

“It will give the boys enough time to be ready for matches.”

South Barwon coach Dave Farrell is prepared to wait until the end of the month for a call to be made.

“If AFL Victoria is prepared to wait on State Government and medical experts’ advice, why are we pushing so hard for a decision this Tuesday?” he questioned.

“The situation is changing is all the time, and delaying a decision by a couple of weeks could be the difference between getting the players out there or not.

“We can now get together for some really meaningful training.

“So, if we were to be given the green light as late as June 29, I believe we would be right to go on the 11th or 18th of July.”

Grovedale coach Daniel Fraser hopes he doesn’t have to wait until 2021 to lead the Tigers for the first time.

“We’re very keen to play footy in 2020, provided our members’ health and our players’ health, and our club’s viability going forward is guaranteed,” Fraser said.

“We are eager to commence the season.”

Twitter: @tom_king79