Sport stops for snap lockdown

The run home towards finals in all the high-profile winter sporting competitions is under a COVID cloud after South Australia came to a freeze following Tuesday’s lockdown.

This weekend’s action was already under threat from the tightening of South Australian restrictions announced on Monday night which forced governing bodies to stop all training plans during the week.

Many hoped those initial restrictions would be lifted Friday night to ensure a huge weekend of sport could still go ahead.

However, there is now no hope of play following the SA government’s decision to impose a strict seven-day lockdown from Tuesday night.

With only individual exercise allowed for 90 minutes per day, clubs and players will have to get creative with how they stay in shape.

A prime example of this has been showcased from the team to beat in the Steeline Limestone Coast Football Association senior women’s premiership season as Blue Lake United coach Sean Fulton said his team would burn through a home-based fitness program to keep their fitness up.

“We are very fortunate one of our co-captains Eve Maywald is a fitness instructor and has prepared individual plans for each player, so even though we cant train, our players can still keep their fitness and focus up for what is ahead,” he said.

Blue Lake United is just one of countless sporting clubs unable to play or make money due to the lockdown.

The LCFA premiership season just crossed the halfway mark of the season and teams were looking forward to a fast run of weekly games towards finals after the stop-start nature of the first five rounds.

It remains to be seen if all five of the remaining minor rounds will take place before the finals are scheduled to begin  at the start of September.

The competition to receive the biggest impact of the recent COVID protocols is the Western Border Football League and Netball Association.

Last weekend the WBFL already pulled the pin on round 13 due to Victoria plunging into lockdown.

 A cross-border bubble was originally opened up, but Island Park fell just two kilometres from the boundary, so the Casterton v East Gambier contest had to be cancelled.

With every game having ramifications on ladder positions, WBFL president Michael Summers said it had to cancel the other two round 13 fixtures to maintain the integrity of the season.

The other aspect of the announcement was reshuffling the fixture to cancel round 16 with last weekend’s set of fixtures to ensure all teams played each other three times across the 15 weeks of football.

“We only found out about the South Australian and Victorian border situation at 4pm Thursday night, so we had to come up with a really quick discussion,” he said.

“As a board we decided to come up with a scenario to postpone this weekend and move it to the end of the year and remove round 16 which makes it an even draw.

“It was too hard to find another weekend to play the Casterton and East Gambier game, so we postponed the whole lot to make it fair for all clubs.

“It is a week-by-week situation now.” However, for the updated  fixture to include all 15 rounds, play needed to resume this weekend and that is now not possible.

To complicate things even further, WBFL cannot extend its season without avoiding a clash with the MSEFL finals series.

As a result, the board is scrambling to  come up with ways to re-shape the run to September as it faces the prospect of at least four consecutive weeks without a full round of football.

The Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football League and Netball Association took a different approach to matters last weekend by playing on all South Australian based games.

The only fixture that did not take  place was Border Districts v Lucindale and as a result, ladder positions are now decided by match ratio.

KNTFL president Peter McLellan said Border Districts did not have an issue with being left out after a crisis meeting earlier in the year came up with a solution to the situation presented last weekend.

“We had a meeting a month ago and the Border Districts club put up the proposal that was seconded by everyone that if they or any club gets knocked out from COVID, the game is abandoned and the ladder is decided by match ratio,” he said.

“We have done it before with netball and in juniors when there is uneven numbers, so that is the fairest and easiest way we can do it.

“We had the plan in place, so there are no surprises or shocks.” Now it is just a waiting game until the lockdown ends and teams can reignite their finals assault.

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