With the barriers of lockdown broken, the Limestone Coast sporting community can rejoice as competition returns to venues all over the region this weekend.
Following a week of teams reuniting at training, every player will be raring to unleash their competitive juices on the field after restrictions were eased on Monday.
However, the atmosphere will not quite be the same with SA Health restricting the amount of spectators to 1000, with club players, officials, coaches, volunteers and COVID marshals permitted to perform their regular duties.
Gathering areas such as changerooms, benches and coaches boxes must still adhere to the density requirements of one person per two square metres.
After play, victory celebrations will be toned down significantly with no club songs allowed to be sung in the changerooms, while expect face masks to be the backdrop in the stands.
It remains to be seen if these crowd restrictions will have an impact on the three local football and netball competitions resuming this weekend.
A football and netball home game is a huge social event with families coming from far and wide to not only play sport, but meet up with others around the ground and enjoy the hospitality on offer.
As a result, the hosting ground receives a huge boost of gate takings and food and beverage sales which helps keep the club afloat.
However, a dramatic reduction of the number of spectators and potential income could make hosting matches unsustainable for the clubs until restrictions ease.
All three leagues were hopeful of the gates being thrown open and held midweek meetings about the matter after the time of print with final calls expected to be made before the weekend.
Despite the concerns, sport will certainly be played this weekend with the action starting as early as tonight.
Basketball Mount Gambier will resume its MG Plasterers South East Coast Basketball League season.
Four grades will hit the courts to bring the heat back to the Ice House, while both Mount Gambier Pioneers sides will resume their NBL1 South campaigns.
The stop-start nature of the 2021 Steeline Limestone Coast Football Association Premiership Cup season will be over on Saturday with president Eric Nieto confident for kickoff.
He said the round 8 games allocated for this weekend would remain with a backup plan for rounds 6 and 7 in place.
“We will start this weekend and the games we lost we will either play them in lieu of the SAJSA Country Championships if they do not go ahead or at the end of the home-and-away rounds,” he said.
“Our season will be pushed forward either one or two weeks.” Mystery surrounds the fate of the SAJSA Country Championships which were originally scheduled to take place at Mildura on the final weekend of this month.
However, COVID restrictions have forced a venue change with Port Pirie now the most likely location.
The match of the round will be a Sunday night blockbuster between International and Apollo at Casadio Park.
The Lower South East Hockey Association season also looks to get its season back on track tomorrow night.
Round 16 proceeds at Blue Lake Sports Park tomorrow night as LSEHA president Lochie Nisbett confirmed most games lost to the lockdown were abandoned, but the decision was not a simple one.
“We will start this Friday night and just carry on the season from where we left off,” he said.
“The majority of the games lost from the two rounds will be nil-all draws just to make things easier.
“However, the Division 2 women are looking to reschedule the games midweek due to the tightness of the ladder.
“The teams are very happy to get back together.” In a big win for the hundreds of South East golfers, competition golf can resume, so expect Attamurra and Blue Lake to be full of birdies and bogeys this Saturday.
Although many of you may not be able to soak up the action live, The SE Voice readers will be the first to find out all the winners, losers and highlights of a big weekend of sport when our first Tuesday paper hits the stands next week!