Let’s get local footy back

Let’s see some footy

It’s been said that AFL will start playing sooner, rather than later, but no one can tell us when that will be.

If the AFL can commence play, does that mean that the local footy can also start? Hopefully yes.

Playing without crowds would be an option for the AFL, but that probably wouldn’t happen in country footy as Covid 19 restrictions would most likely need to be lifted before the country leagues were permitted to get into it.

When the local footy does kick off, we don’t know how many weeks will be left in the normal season. If there is only four weeks of footy left prior to summer sports beginning, that would usually leave only the finals, so we would need to change our thought process.

We could do away with finals, have four matches and the team that finished on top would be premiers. That way each team, whether they be a top or bottom of the ladder, would get the most amount of footy possible.

If eight weeks were remaining in the shortened season, it would give the Central Murray and Golden Rivers leagues the option of playing seven rounds, selected randomly, and then a grand final for the top two teams if this was the preferred option.

Either way, any footy tragic in the area could get their usual winter ‘fix’ and this could just be what the doctor ordered.

Following the social isolation that has been enforced upon us, to get out and have a kick would be excellent.

The netballers too, would be looking forward to having a hit out.

And we don’t need practice matches. Just get straight into it.

Many workers do their job tirelessly during the summer months and don’t see anyone. They look forward to the footy season, of course for the footy, but mostly for the social aspect.

Not too sure why the AFL shortened the games in the first round. Presumably it was to allow them to saturate the public with footy during weekdays and not put too much stress on the players. As many country clubs struggle to fill their reserves teams anyway, shortening the matches might be considered…. No! Never!

For local footy clubs, fitness may be a problem. How many local workers, including farmers, would have been going for a run with football in mind? Maybe a few of the super keen, but there are some very handy footballers who are playing to fill the numbers in the local leagues. But who cares about how many minutes you can run for in these troubled times? If we can watch and play footy, that’s all that matters.

Besides, there are reportedly quite a few recruits signed locally that we would love to see play. Richard Tambling signing with Macorna is one. Wouldn’t we all love to see him have a crack at local footy?

Kerang reportedly had a couple of ex-locals returning, including former coach Troy Coates.

Cohuna were also getting back quite a few locals, hoping to finish at least in the top three, although some were hopeful that top spot was theirs for the taking.

The Koondrook-Barham River Raiders were confident of a successful season, although they had lost a few numbers to the GRFL.

In the GRFL, Wandella were hopeful of doing OK, but as the season drew closer, they picked up a few more and became quite confident they would be up there.

Macorna was looking forward to an exciting season, with Natimuk United star Jaydon Stiles as coach and a couple of other top signings from the Horsham District league along with Tambling.

Murrabit had picked up a few numbers from the Raiders and would have been looking to move up a rung or two at least.

The AFL could make any alterations they like and would probably have finals, but AFL Central Murray don’t need to be tied to this format.

When we know how many games are going to be played, select weeks from the first complete round from the already-completed draw, and randomly select that number of rounds required. If there are four weeks to be played, it may be that round seven, two, four and three are selected from the original draw. It doesn’t matter who plays who. The luck of the draw. This could see a mediocre team have three easy games and finish on top. Who cares? It’s good for footy.

A problem if the Pioneers didn’t continue would be that the star footballer at that age may not get their one chance to impress for selection in next year’s AFL draft.

Sorry kids, everyone must give up a bit in these tough times, and that one chance may go by the wayside.

As much footy as possible for all clubs would surely be paramount in AFL Central Murray’s thinking.

Let’s hope we all get the chance to see our great game played locally in the 2020 season, and we can all stay healthy and happy in these extraordinary times.

By Greg Kurly Miles