RIVERINA League presidents have applauded AFL Riverina's decision to keep the prospect of a season alive by delaying round one until next weekend.
It was announced on Tuesday an AFL Riverina Championships featuring Riverina and Farrer League clubs will be introduced this year.
The Daily Advertiser understands the vast majority of the eight Riverina League clubs who haven't already withdrawn are fully committed to playing after the AFL Riverina board decided to postpone the season start until July 25 at a meeting on Monday night.
However the participation of the four Farrer League clubs left standing - Temora, Marrar, North Wagga and Northern Jets - is far more doubtful.
It is understood most clubs will hold extraordinary meetings on Tuesday night to assess whether they play or withdraw this year after AFL Riverina imposed a deadline of close of business Wednesday.
Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong president Jason Hamblin was one of the club presidents who suggested the season be delayed slightly to reassess after the NSW-Victoria border was closed, and a directive issued advising against players travelling to and from Border towns.
"I was confident we'd have a season. I rang up every club and all the clubs left (who haven't pulled out this year) said they were happy to continue under the conditions that we were given by the government," Hamblin said.
"It's treading a fine line because we initially said to the league we needed unlimited crowds and the pubs and clubs to be open (to be involved in a season).
"We've already dragged that unlimited crowd back to a maxiumum of 500, and today (Tuesday) they said the pubs and clubs would be restricted down (to 300 at all venues).
"But AFL Riverina has been great in reducing our costs so we can still operate as a club if we can have 500 people at games.
"Some are worried about clubs going to different towns, but I my kids go to a school with 1000 kids in Wagga.
"Half of Ganmain travel to Wagga for work or shopping. There's already intermingling between cities and small towns in any case, you can't stop that.
"Playing football is not going to be any higher risk than the intermingling between communities.
"I said to Michael (Irons, AFL Riverina chairman) if you're going to pull the season, just give it one more week. The (coronavirus) numbers may start getting less in Melbourne and you see a bit of light.
"You'd hate to see in a month's time that the restrictions have start lifting and we haven't got a season."
Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes first-year president Jesse Cunningham backed the call to give clubs some breathing space before a potential start next weekend.
"From our point of view it's all positive. There's a few logistical things we have to discuss tonight (Tuesday), but from our point of view we're positive and optimistic on playing," he said.
"Taking a week off just makes sense. It's now Tuesday and to prepare for round one (this weekend) when you don't know what's happening would be tough.
"It was getting to the point where when you're so passionate about something and you put so much time into it, you just hope it gets up and going.
"It changes from club to club, each club faces different challenges, and when you see clubs pull out you second guess yourself.
"But all we're governed by is the health experts, and if they say it's safe to play if we put certain measures in place then let's give it a crack."
Coolamon president Bryan Buchanan said the club will discuss what decision they make with the board and coaches on Tuesday night.
Marrar, North Wagga and Collingullie-Glenfield Park were other clubs to confirm they would meet on Tuesday night.