By Sam Watson

WITH the state government announcing another lockdown extension, a fatal blow may have been dealt to the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition and the Ellinbank and District Football League and Netball Association.

Restrictions on regional Victoria may be eased as soon as next week but Melbourne’s lockdown will be extended until at least 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated.

The state government and health officials estimate that will occur on or around September 23.

With half the league in the Greater Melbourne area, the West Gippsland FNC would have to wait until at least Saturday, September 25 to return to play.

But if play was to resume on September 25, that would’ve given players just two days to prepare after over two and a half months away from the game.

Clubs in regional Victoria have been able to train and play practice matches in that time, but metro clubs have not even trained together since July 15.

And even if restrictions ease in Melbourne, it may not mean football and netball can return.

The Ellinbank League has said they will not return until Melbourne players are available, putting them in a similar boat to West Gippsland.

However, the Gippsland League and the Mid Gippsland Football Netball League may be able to conjure up some form of finals series.

It all depends on how quickly the state comes out of lockdown and what freedoms they grant the public and sporting clubs.