Gippsland League votes on return

High hopes: Gippsland League clubs are fully expecting to play this weekend. photograph tom gannon

Liam Durkin

GIPPSLAND League clubs met with league officials last night (Wednesday, August 18) to vote on a return to play for senior competitions and the format of the finals series.
Before the meeting the Gippsland League had again made public its recommendation for an immediate return to play for senior competitions starting August 21.
Junior matches resumed last week, but were played without crowds as per state government regulations.
Although a verdict came out after The Express went to press, clubs across the region hit the training track on Tuesday night under the impression they were fully expecting to be playing this Saturday.
With six weeks between games, the situation has presented an unprecedented set of arrangements for players and coaches in trying to stay motivated.
The league is one round short of having its 10 clubs playing each other once, which it had stated earlier this season to be its minimum aim.
For teams out of finals contention, the requirement to meet this mark and front up to play one game has been especially challenging, so much so that in many ways the scoreboard will be irrelevant for them on Saturday, and teams in this position will instead be best advised to just go out and play for enjoyment.
Amazingly, come Saturday teams will have completed a dozen training sessions in the
Regardless, the general feeling in local football and netball circles is that the time has come for play to resume, as the continual grind of training week-in week-out with no games to
look forward to has taken its toll.
While the Melbourne lockdown is sure to deny some clubs access to senior players, it could lead to some rags-to-riches stories coming out of local players who otherwise would not have been given the chance to play in the first picked team.
Those who have been around sport long enough will know there is no shortage of players who have come into a team late and made a name for themselves, and such stories have been celebrated as lessons in persistence for hanging in there.
Notable examples include Richard Hadley who only played three games for the Brisbane Lions in 2003 – all finals – and ended up in the premiership team.