WHILE the region’s hockey, soccer and baseball leagues will play this weekend, local football-netball leagues will wait at least a week before resuming.
The Gippsland League and East Gippsland Football-Netball League will return to competition on Saturday, August 7, while the North Gippsland FNL has ended its home-and-away season and will resume with finals next month.
While the state-wide lockdown ended on Tuesday night, the new restrictions don’t allow for spectators to attend community sport. This will be a major factor in the decision to return to play for some leagues and associations. Under the new restrictions, physical recreation and sport can take place, with a maximum patron cap of 100 people per indoor space and 300 per outdoor space.
A density quotient of one person per four square metres, and a group limit of 10 people, applies.
Attendance at matches and training is limited to the people required to participate in and facilitate the activity, such as players and coaches.
Spectators are not allowed, with the exception of people necessary for events, such as teachers, instructors, trainers, coaches, umpires, carers, parents and guardians.
COVID marshals must ensure attendees check-in.
With the current restrictions set to be in place for two weeks, senior football and netball is unlikely to be played in front of crowds when they return on August 7, meaning clubs won’t get revenue from entry and canteen and bar sales.
The Gippsland League made its return to play announcement on Tuesday night after receiving feedback from its 10 clubs on their ability to host matches based on new state-wide restrictions.
The league will confirm details for the remainder of the season by the end of the week.
Following the previous lockdown, the Gippsland League had already reduced the length of its season.
When reducing the length of its season following the previous lockdown, the Gippsland League announced it was a priority for each club to play each other once when adjusting the fixture. The league has played 10 rounds, with the 10 clubs yet to play two rivals once this season.
In the EGFNL, the previous two weekends and this one coming up have been declared ‘COVID byes’, with the two rounds postponed earlier this year to be played August 7 and 14.
In the first weekend back, Stratford will play at Lakes Entrance, while Boisdale-Briagolong will head to Paynesville. The following weekend, the Swans will host Paynesville and the Bombers will play at home against Lindenow.
The decision means the home-and-away season has been reduced to 11 rounds, meaning the league’s eight clubs will only play four opponents twice.
The semi-finals will be played the weekend of August 21 and 22. If Gippsland League club
Bairnsdale plays at Bairnsdale City Oval, home to all EGFNL finals, on the Saturday, the second semi-final will be moved to Lucknow. The preliminary finals will be played August 28, with the grand finals seven days later.
The NGFNL cut back its home-and-away season to 11 rounds, removing the previous two weekends, when teams scheduled to play each received two points for abandoned matches, and cancelled the remaining three rounds.
The finals will begin as scheduled on August 21, culminating in grand final day on September 11.
Having 11 rounds ensured each of the NGFNL’s 11 clubs played each other once and had a bye round each.
The decision means Woodside claimed the minor premiership in both senior football and A grade netball.
Yallourn-Yallourn North, Churchill, Yarram and Traralgon-Tyers United will join the Wildcats in the football finals, while Glengarry, Rosedale, Churchill and Sale City will also play for the netball premiership.
Football will still be played this weekend, with the final round of the AFL Gippsland Women’s season this Sunday. Boisdale-Briagolong will host Foster, and Sale will host Warragul Industrials ahead of the semi-finals the following weekend.
The Sale and District Junior Football Association will play the penultimate round of its home-and-away season this Sunday, having confirmed its grand finals will be played Sunday, September 5, at Sale Oval.
The Gippsland Youth Girls League will also be back on Sunday, with Sale City and Boisdale-
Briagolong both away, playing Traralgon and Bairnsdale respectively.
The Latrobe Valley Soccer League will return this weekend, with seniors to play round 17 as previously scheduled, with the previous two scheduled rounds to be played in September.
With clubs unable to charge entry or receive canteen revenue, the LVSL will cover the cost of referees for the next two weeks.
Apart from one parent or guardian per child being allowed, only people directly involved in matches will be permitted to attend games, with the expectation they ‘get in, play, and get out’.
After the previous two rounds were cancelled, the East Gippsland Hockey Association season will resume this weekend for the last round of matches before the finals.
Sale will host Swan Reach in women’s and open matches on Friday night at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex, from 6.30pm and 7.55pm respectively.
Sale and Swan Reach junior teams will play on Saturday morning at GRSC before Maffra plays Nagle, culminating in the women’s match from 5.10pm and open from 6.35pm. Wellington will head east to play Orbost on Saturday.
Baseball will return will be bang, with the state under 16 championships to be played at Stephenson Park, Sale, on Saturday and Sunday.
In the Latrobe Valley Baseball Association, junior matches will be played in Morwell on Saturday, with the senior grades and under 16s in action on Sunday. In A grade, the Sale Rangers will play the Churchill Braves in Morwell, while the Moe-Newborough Dodgers will host the Traralgon Redsox.
The Maffra Amateur Basketball Association resumed its domestic season on Wednesday night, while the Sale ABA hopes to resume play next week.
Golfers can also return to the course. With the exception of when eating and drinking, masks must be worn at all times, including while playing.