By Sam Watson
CLUBS in the Gippsland League have unanimously voted to restart their season on August 7.
The 10 clubs met with AFL Gippsland’s Nic Fogarty to decide when they would return and what that would look like.
There were three options presented to the clubs.
The first was to return this weekend, the second was to return next weekend on August 7 and the third was to return on August 14.
The first option was quickly eliminated due to the short time clubs would have to get their players and volunteers ready before the weekend.
The third option of waiting until August 14 was where half the clubs stood, as they wanted to wait until restrictions on crowds eased.
But in the end, the clubs hoping to start on August 14 decided it would be best to start on August 7.
All clubs knew they would be playing under the current restrictions, which includes no crowds, but they didn’t want to wait until August 14 and lose another week, especially with the possibility that there are no changes to restrictions by then.
Wonthaggi president Peter Liddle said there was still plenty of grey area about what the club can and can’t do when they host Sale next Saturday.
“At this stage we’re waiting for more advice on whether we can open the canteen or the bar,” Liddle said.
“I wouldn’t see why we can’t because we’re a licensed takeaway premises.”
And he said people may still come to the ground as the current restrictions state up to 300 people can attend an outdoor space.
“If restrictions mean we can’t charge people to get in, people may just walk into the recreation reserve, it’s a public place.”
Obviously with the lack of gate, bar and canteen takings, the club will struggle to raise the money they usually do, which may make it harder to pay senior players.
But taking a pay cut for one week isn’t something Liddle has discussed with the senior players yet.
With their current position on the ladder, and the culture Jarryd Blair has been able to build in his first year at the club, players may be more willing to drop their pay.
The Gippsland League will now hold three rounds before starting their finals series on August 28.