Fingers crossed for comeback

By Michael Roberts | posted on May 30, 2020

THE Great Southern Football League (GSFL) has revealed its pathway back to competitive footy this year, announcing the 2020 season will start on June 28 if all the right pieces fall into place.

GSFL directors and club presidents met last week to determine a tentative start to the 2020 season, despite it remaining unclear when the State Government or Western Australian Football Commission (WAFC) will allow teams to compete on the field.

Under the WA Government’s current Phase 2 restrictions, sports teams are allowed non-contact play in groups of 20.

But it could only be a month before local footy players get to enjoy the rough and tumble of an Aussie Rules game, with the GSFL outlining its ideal return date would be for the last weekend of June.

With clubs seeking some guidance on when a season might materialise, GSFL President Joe Burton said the league had tried to get on the front foot.

“There are still a lot of ifs and buts. A lot can happen in those four weeks,” he said.

Under ‘Plan A’, the 2020 season will comprise 10 home-and-away rounds played in successive weeks, before a two-round finals series and a grand final on September 20.

If the GSFL isn’t allowed to return on June 28, then Burton said they would start one week after receiving the green light from the WAFC.

Burton said all six GSFL clubs were on board with playing the colts and 16s grades in 2020, but with the seniors it was a different story.

If community sporting grounds can’t have spectators, Burton said three of the six GSFL clubs were worried hosting league and reserves games would cost them too much financially.

“Half the clubs want to play regardless and the other half are a little bit dubious of the costs and not being able to recoup any money,” he said.

“If the seniors don’t go ahead then the colts and 16s will definitely go ahead.”

Burton said it was more important younger footballers were able to play this year because it was crucial for their development.

“A lot of those kids are aspiring to play football at the next level,” he said.

“And they cannot afford to miss a whole year. We are making sure they get
their opportunity.”

The GSFL will be offering clubs $500 for every home game they host and are seeking additional funding from the WAFC, according to Burton.

The Albany Sharks Football Club is one organisation who desperately want all the grades up and firing in 2020 no matter the outcome on spectators.

“We will make it a priority to get all four teams on the track,” Albany Sharks President Tracy Blaszkow said.
“It will be tricky financially, but we will make it work.”

Ms Blaszkow said the Sharks would even be open to playing in a senior’s competition with only three or four clubs.