Sport

Rochester saddened to see GVL season cancelled

By Brayden May

ROCHESTER president Jeff Bright admits he is disappointed to see so much hard work go to waste following the Goulburn Valley League's decision last week to cancel the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All senior football and netball competitions were cancelled as the GVL made the announcement in conjunction with the Murray and Ovens and Murray Leagues.

“We’re obviously shattered that our players won’t be able to pull on our clubs colours this year,” Bright said.

“Everyone had put in a massive pre-season only for the start to be delayed at the very last minute and then they had been working towards the target start date of July 18.

“But we’re confident that they’ll be ready to go as soon as the pre-season dates are announced.

“You feel for the volunteers and supporters at the club who are always willing to give up their time.

“But the community’s safety always had to come first.

GVL chairman David Roff thanked the neighbouring competitions for their support throughout the entire process.

“This is not a decision we have made lightly,” he said.

“We recognise the potential health implications within our communities, the financial burden of a shortened season to both our clubs and the league, the additional requirements of volunteers, the number of people allowed within a hospitality setting, inability to manage crowds amid social distancing rules and not wanting to play without crowds.

“We waited as long as we possibly could but ultimately had to make the call in order to provide clarity to everyone at all of our clubs.”

While the Tigers’ seniors players might be out of action in 2020, the GVL remains keen to get their next generation of stars on the field as soon as possible.”

“We remain committed to running a modified junior competition for our under 16 and under 18 football and 15 and under and 17 and under netball,” Roff said.

“Our aim is to start a junior competition on July 18. How a GVL Juniors competition will look is yet to be determined and will be dependent first and foremost on state government advice.

“We have formed a working group to help expedite this once return to play protocols are released.”

Bright said he was hopeful the club would have more details in the coming weeks in regards to the junior competitions.

“We want to be starting into July,” he said.

“If we’re looking at a start in August then the club might re-evaluate our position as to whether we play.

“But we do believe it’s important to get out on the field for the mental health and well-being of our players.

“For our top age under 17 netballers and under 18 footballers, this year is vital because we are getting them ready to step up into the senior grades.

“Our goal has always been to develop long-term senior players and that is something which will never change.”

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