Seymour, other league teams pull out of junior season

By Alex Mitchell

Coronavirus carnage has continued to impact football and netball clubs as they push toward a competitive junior season in the coming months.

Goulburn Valley League club Seymour officially withdrew all its grades on Tuesday, after Mitchell Shire was sent back into lockdown.

With no training or matches permitted for six weeks, and the GVL season currently scheduled to kick off on July 25, Lions president Gerard O'Sullivan said his club had no choice.

“We have spoken to league officials and with no training or competition permitted over this time, it is not possible for our club to participate,” he wrote on the club's Facebook page.

“When the time is right and when things have settled again, we will consider what options we might have in providing some sort of training or playing or just social interaction for our juniors — and seniors.

“There’s no doubt this hurts for our players, coaches, committee, supporters and community, but the health and safety of each and everyone of you and your family members is paramount.”

League chairman David Roff supported the decision and said no club would be forced into playing this season.

“With the current situation of COVID-19 continually changing, we have told all of our clubs all along that it is up to clubs and individual players to decide whether they will play or not,” Roff said.

“Our ultimate aim, regardless of whether a juniors season goes ahead this year or not, is to have 12 clubs ready to play in 2021, and will support all of our clubs, no matter what decision they make in relation to the season this year.”

The league cancelled all senior grades this season, with under-16 and under-18 football and 15-and-under and 17-and-under netball currently set to proceed on July 25.

● Elsewhere, a number of Picola District league teams have withdrawn from the proposed junior competition.

Tocumwal, Katunga and Strathmerton all announced on Tuesday they would not participate in the league's proposed eight-week junior competition, with each citing the Victorian-New South Wales border closure among their reasoning.

Picola United had already announced it would not participate in the season, while Rennie indicated the opposite, committing to fielding sides should a competition proceed.

With four teams now officially withdrawn from the season, a maximum of nine teams of the league's original 13 clubs is now possible.

● And Murray league club Deniliquin Rams also indicated it would withdraw its juniors from competition.

The Rams said the decision did not affect their Goulburn Campaspe Junior Football League teams.