Hopes sport can return

Netball Season

David Braithwaite

THE lifting of the lockdown in regional Victoria has given hope that local sport will resume this week.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced yesterday morning the lockdown, which began on Thursday night, would end outside metropolitan Melbourne at 11.59pm last night.
Community sport can resume for all ages, including training and competition.
However, only the minimum number of participants (such as players, coaches, referees, officials, and carers or parents) needed to train or compete are permitted to attend, subject to a density quotient of one person per four sqm.
Just as it was before the recent lockdown began, spectators are not permitted at sporting events.
The limit on people travelling from Melbourne could hamper the ability for some clubs to field full strength teams, especially in football and netball Gippsland League, which draws players living in the metro area.
Soccer, baseball, basketball and hockey were among the sports which returned in the past week, as well as women’s and junior football, but were forced to stop again following the announcement of a new lockdown on Thursday afternoon.
The Gippsland League and East Gippsland Football-Netball League were due to resume at the weekend, while the North Gippsland FNL plans to return on August 21 with the first weekend of its finals.
The AFL Gippsland Women’s and Gippsland Youth Girls League finals were supposed to begin at the weekend.
Clubs, leagues and associations will meet this week to determine a course of action for the rest of the 2021 season.
The inability to have paying spectators attend games and whether clubs can prepare venues and volunteers in time will be factors in whether some events can proceed this weekend.