WAGGA City Wanderers coach Michael Babic is hopeful the NSW government will introduce its social distancing guidelines early this week as they face the prospect of returning to training after their Canberra rivals.
The Wanderers are preparing for their second season in Capital Football's National Premier League division two competition, but are still awaiting the green light to train after the ACT government gave the green light for their teams to do so in groups up to ten on Thursday.
Football Wagga is confident local clubs will be able to begin training by the end of this week week, subject to the NSW Government's Office of Sport releasing its Return to Play Framework early this week.
A shortened season makes a quick start even more crucial, and Babic hopes the NSW government will help them avoid falling too far behind the Canberra teams.
"I know Capital clubs could start training from the weekend, and we don't want to be too far behind," Babic said.
"Realistically everyone's in the same boat, but you don't want them to have that extra couple of weeks on you.
"I haven't seen anything from Capital Football around what the season's going to look like yet. We still don't know how many rounds, who we're playing and when we're playing, and hopefully that's out soon so we can start preparing for us.
"While we play under the Capital Football banner, we have to abide by the NSW rules as I understand it.
"I'm very hopeful that by the end of this week we'll be back at training.
"If the NSW government gets the document out early this week then NSW Football will follow very quickly afterwards. They've already got their draft document, and then it's just a case of making sure it's consistent."
A nurse by trade, Babic knows better than most that NSW has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic more than their ACT counterparts, and hopes that doesn't mean the Wanderers will have to adhere to stricter guidelines.
"We also have to appreciate the situation we've experienced in NSW has been very different to that in Canberra," he said.
"The guidelines that come out from the NSW government could be very different from the Canberra ones, but I'm hoping not.
"I know the administrators are working hard in the background. I still personally don't know the rules of travel between Canberra and NSW.
"I've seen a draft of what's coming for us in the next five or six weeks as we prepare, and it certainly doesn't look like football.
"The limitations include we can't play games at training, we can't use our change rooms and are limited to social distancing measures.
"The coaches are going to have to work really hard to come up with sessions that players get a benefit out of.
"I have a playing style I want to implement and that takes time, and we can't even work on that over the next period of time and I don't know how long that will be.
"They were talking about playing some midweek games which for us might be a difficult proposition, or whether we play some double header weekends. I don't know what the administrators are thinking at the moment."