Players have their own individual training plans but no date has been set for a return to team tr

THERE will be no return to country football, according to Leongatha Football Netball Club President Mal Mackie, without gate-takings.

He was echoing the comments made by the Maffra FNC last week in response to an announcement by AFL Gippsland that local football and netball competitions have been pushed back until May 31 at the earliest.

“I think all 10 clubs would agree. Unless you’ve got people paying as they come through the gate, buying a pie at the canteen and maybe having a drink at the bar; you couldn’t run a club,” Mr Mackie said.

“And what would be the point anyway.

“We’re being guided by the government in this.”

Mr Mackie said the club had not even discussed a tentative date for the return to training.

“The players have all got their training plans and they’re doing that individually.

“Our next committee meeting isn’t until next month.”

AFL Gippsland, which oversees 16 different leagues and competitions across the region, revealed its further postponement in a statement last week.

“In line with the Victorian Government’s announcement on Sunday, April 12 that the Sate of Emergency has been extended until midnight May 11, 2020, AFL Gippsland will be extending the postponement date, for the earliest commencement of a season, to May 31,” the statement read.

“It is expected that Stage 3 restrictions will be in place until at least May 11, therefore the postponement until May 31 would allow for close to a three week lead-in period, providing an appropriate wind back of restrictions from the Government is in place as of May 12.”

AFL Gippsland remains optimistic that we will see some play, in most leagues, in season 2020.

“Again, we thank all leagues, clubs and their members for their understanding and collaborative approach to combating the impact the virus may have in Gippsland,” the statement read.

“It is our intention to play football and netball at some stage in 2020 and this is the basis of our ongoing operational and budgetary planning across a range of season start date scenarios.”

In other news, Gippsland clubs affected by the ‘G25’ restructure report were due to have their responses in to AFL Victoria by April 10 with a final report to be prepared by ColganBauer and submitted to AFL Victoria by April 30. The extent to which the COVID-19 crisis affects the viability of country football and netball clubs is yet to be realised.