TURVEY Park co-coach Jeremy Sykes says his family situation and his partner's up close work with the elderly left him no option but to reluctantly walk away from the post after a dramatic club meeting on Tuesday.
Sykes and fellow Bulldogs coach Mark Carroll resigned at the meeting, citing a desire not to risk the health of the community after coronavirus outbreaks forced the closure of the NSW-Victoria border last week.
His partner, Tiana, gave birth to son Archie midway through last year and Sykes said coaching or playing this season wasn't worth the risk.
"I've got a little 12-month-old and another one the way and my partner works at Settler's, one of Wagga's biggest aged care facilities," he said.
"I wouldn't be able to live with myself if worse came to worse, and you feel responsible for the elderly that are most vulnerable to this disease. I couldn't do this to myself or the wider community.
"It's easier to plan for worst case scenarios, and sit there and regret your best case scenario.
"'Curl' (Carroll) and I have personal reasons for stepping away because of what's going on. It's a bit bigger than football at the moment."
"We've probably got a duty of care going forward and it (not playing) would probably be the most sensible thing," Carroll told The Daily Advertiser.
"My opinion is the football community have a duty of care to players, their families and the rest of the community. There's been cases in Albury and Canberra and it's the right thing to do, especially if we're playing only eight games.
"I love footy more than anything, but you have to think outside that bubble a bit sometimes. You hate for someone to lose their Nan or whatever that may be."
Sykes believes the club is in a strong position to be competitive this year after they won their last three games in 2019 to just miss finals.
"The club want to go ahead and that's fine. I told them my personal decision, with everything I've got in my bubble I couldn't take the gamble," he said.
"After what Curl and myself have done the past two years to build such a good culture between the young kids and really give them a crack at first grade (they're well placed).
"We had a ripping pre season before it got called off, we got back into it again and were flying. It's unfortunate circumstances."
Bulldogs president Steven Marks said the club have received offers to coach the team "from within the Turvey Park community" and expect to make a decision by Thursday at latest.
"They (Carroll and Sykes) have things in their personal lives that have higher risk than most of us," Marks said.
"They didn't go out with any ill feeling from the club, we understood their preference. But we're working for our clubs as a whole and we still deem it worthwhile to play football.
"We got a couple of options we're exploring as coach and they're all within our ranks. We expect an announcement to all our players either late tonight (Wednesday) or first thing tomorrow morning (Thursday)."
Collingullie-Glenfield Park, Temora, North Wagga and Northern Jets also officially confirmed they won't be playing this year after club meetings on Tuesday, while it is understood Marrar has also withdrawn.
Club have until close of business Wednesday to notify AFL Riverina of their intentions for 2020.