Junior sport in line to return

By Andrew Johnston

JUNIOR sport could be just weeks away from returning to the fields of Echuca-Moama.

And an Echuca-Moama football competition could be on the radar.

Sport Australia has released a Return to Sport Toolkit, which states children will only be able to have one parent in attendance at games and training, while banning high-fives, handshakes and socialising.

Players will also be required to wash their hands before, during and after training, and won't be allowed to spit, cough or clear their nose.

“We only get one chance to restart sport,” Sport Australia acting chief executive Rob Dalton told media.

“If we get a surge in the number of COVID cases, and we have to shut down, then that's it for the year.

“It takes so long to get it up and running, it's just really important we take a cautious approach.”

The chance of a return has been welcomed by local club presidents, but said there was still a lot of work to do.

“We are keen to try and get some action sooner rather than later,” Echuca United's Daryl Poole said.

“Kids involvement in community sport is a necessity at any time, but especially now in managing this situation and giving the kids an outlet.

“But our number one priority will always be the safety of our players, we are doing what we can do. If we have to wait a bit to implement everything so we can do it properly we will.

“We are trying to assess what we are able to do. The protocols are strict, so we are working out what is practical and possible as we look to getting back on the field.”

Moama junior president Brad Langborne said while there was a lot of work to do to fit within regulations, he remained hopeful there would be football of some sort.

"If it means we don't play proper matches for points, even if they are just practice matches against each other it would be great just for them to play,” he said.

"We will work within the guidelines and make sure we are doing things as safely as possible if we get the chance, but we'd love to see an opportunity for the kids to play."

Echuca president Justin Hatfield agreed that it was essential to get some form of action on the field if they could.

"Everyone just wants to play,” he said.

"We will look to get back to training as a team with the hope to getting back to playing some games. We don't know what that will look like, it may be an Echuca-Moama scratch match tournament.

"A lot of our players would be on board that idea, it will give them the chance to play against some of their mates they wouldn't normally play."