OSBORNE coach Joel Mackie was always optimistic AFL Riverina would eventually scrap its strong recommendation against Border-based participants playing this season.
All Border-based players are now free to play in the AFL Riverina Championship in football and netball as of this Saturday's round two fixtures.
AFL Riverina chairman Michael Irons released a statement on Friday confirming Border residents are able to compete in football and netball matches, effective from Saturday's round two fixtures.
The board had previously told the clubs their "strong recommendation" was they avoid fielding any players from the region after three cases of coronavirus were reported in Albury just over a fortnight ago.
But after the issue hasn't exacerbated, they have deemed it safe to allow Border players to take part.
AFL Riverina took into consideration there had been no further cases reported in the area, and the advice received that further restrictions would be enforced on Border region travel by the NSW goverment has not eventuated.
Mackie still had some coaching involvement in Osborne's round one win over the Tigers at Robertson Oval, but was happy he can pack his boots for Saturday's trip to Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlake.
"It's a bit of a relief now. It's good to know you can play footy," he said.
"I wasn't too bad (about missing out in round one) in the lead-up, but seeing everyone get involved in a game made me really hope I could play this week.
"I could bear one week, but I don't know how I'd go with another week.
"I didn't want to get my hopes up but I thought it would (be relaxed). We just had to tough it out and let everything calm down.
"As frustrating as it was, we just had to go through it and be patient.
Mackie said fellow Albury guns Elliott Powell and Zach Bye will also play against the Goannas.
Other players who could potentially benefit from the lifting of the recommendation include Brayden O'Hara (Tigers) and Trent Castles (MCUE).