K rock Football

GFL shortens season

Jayden Symes flies for a mark in Geelong West’s loss to St Joseph’s on Sunday. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

CONCERNS about further lockdowns and the financial impact of playing in front of no crowds has resulted in the GFL season being shortened by one week.

In an email to clubs on Monday morning, AFL Barwon has confirmed speculation it will play two more home-and-away rounds before moving into finals.

Acting Regional General Manager Sean Atkinson says the decision has been arrived at following consultation with all club presidents and league stakeholders.

Atkinson listed five factors behind AFL Barwon’s ruling;

  • The uncertainty of the current environment and potential further lockdowns, and loss of time to play matches provides us with the possibility that the season may not finish at all. The mitigation of as much risk that can possibly be taken is something that has been strongly considered.
  • All clubs have played each other at a minimum of once for the season.
  • This option ensures the integrity of the season with no fixture needing to be “made up” or created, which would have had to occur. There were no “missed rounds” that could have been slotted in due to ground availabilities of certain venues for round 18.
  • The financial impact on clubs at the moment with crowds not being able to present despite clubs still having costs to get players out on the field is significant. Reducing the season by a round assists clubs here.
  • Moving the season forward allows two additional weeks to complete the season if the region is forced into any lockdowns over the coming six weeks.

Rounds 16 and 17 will be played as a fixtured on August 7 and 14, respectively.

Seven clubs remain mathematical finals hopes. However, Newtown & Chilwell, which sits six points outside the top five, can’t make it as a result of the shortening.

Finals will start on the weekend of August 21-22.

Semi-finals are scheduled for August 28-29, with the preliminary final to be held on either Saturday, September 4 or Sunday, September 5.

The grand final will either be Saturday, September 11 or Sunday, September 12.

However, with the GDFL already locked in for Saturday, we could have our first Sunday decider in the GFL since 2011.

GDFL president Neville Whitley says after his league moved its decider in 2019 to allow AFL Barwon to play the BFL on Saturday, he would like to see the GFL held on Sunday.

“I would like to think they would consider playing on the Sunday and not having the clash on the Saturday,” he said.

“We’ve never had an issue with the GFL before because they’ve always finished the week after.

“It is what it is, and we’ve just got to see what we can do to get crowds at all grounds if we’re allowed.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

ROUND 16

Saturday, August 7

  • Colac vs. St Mary’s @ Australian Lamb Company Stadium, 2:15pm
  • Lara vs. Newtown & Chilwell @ Bisinella Oval, 2:15pm
  • Bell Park vs. St Joseph’s @ Hi Sushi Oval – Hamlyn Park, 2:15pm
  • Grovedale vs. South Barwon @ Burdoo Reserve, 2:15pm
  • St Albans vs. Leopold @ The Gordon TAFE Oval, 2:15pm
  • Geelong West Giants vs. North Shore @ West Oval, 2:15pm

ROUND 17

Saturday, August 14

  • Colac vs. Lara @ Australian Lamb Company Stadium, 2:15pm
  • St Mary’s vs. Grovedale @ Anthony Costa Oval, 2:15pm
  • Newtown & Chilwell vs. Bell Park @ Elderslie Reserve, 2:15pm
  • South Barwon vs. Geelong West Giants @ McDonald Reserve, 2:15pm
  • St Albans vs. St Joseph’s @ The Gordon TAFE Oval, 2:15pm
  • Leopold vs. North Shore @ Leopold Memorial Park, 2:15pm