AFL Riverina will hold urgent talks on Monday to discuss contingency plans for their respective junior and senior seasons going forward, with "everything on the table" after the NSW government's decision to put the entire state into lockdown on Saturday afternoon.
News filtered through on social media across sports grounds on Saturday that the state would be in a total lockdown for seven days from 5pm, throwing leagues into chaos.
All games scheduled for Sunday have been postponed, including junior matches and a vital Riverina League local derby between Coolamon and Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong at Kindra Park.
Sunday's Group Nine matches, Gundagai -Young and Temora-Southcity, have also been postponed, while a full round of soccer was also scheduled for Sunday.
The Riverina League's final round is scheduled for next Saturday, which falls in the lockdown period, but the good news is the Farrer League completed their final round on Saturday.
AFL NSW-ACT's community football manager, for regional NSW and ACT, Marc Geppert, said they will hold discussions on Monday morning regarding the best plan moving forward.
All options will be considered, including the possibility of playing next week's Riverina League round on Sunday next weekend if the lockdown isn't extended, postponements, and altering the length and make-up of finals series.
"Everything is on the table. Postponements, make-up games, playing on Sunday versus Saturday, there's so many options," Geppert said.
"There'll obviously be no junior footy played on Sunday in the region. We'll meet first thing on Monday to work out what it means not only for the juniors, but the senior match (Coolamon v Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong) which was meant to go ahead tomorrow.
"With how quickly this situation can change, there's only a certain amount of planning you can do anyway. We'll discuss what the immediate impact is, then we'll put plans in place for restart dates and monitor the health advice."
IN OTHER NEWS
The timing of the lockdown, which filtered through to people around grounds about 2.30pm when senior matches were being played, will also cause complications.
"The announcement coming on a Saturday makes it very hard to organise for next weekend as well, it's awkward timing," Geppert said.
"It's about working within the clubs around postponements, whether there's make-up games. The good thing is for the Riverina and Farrer Leagues we've introduced the match ratio ladder, which is something that assists with issues like the Ganmain-Coolamon match for instance. If that's the only match of the round which doesn't proceed, how does it affect the ladder positions?
"We've got options there, but none of it gets set in stone because the health advice changes so regularly. You could have a rock solid plan ready to go, but it could change in five minutes.
"The make-up of finals, the length of finals, all those things we'll have to work through as we get more information. We'll know more toward the back end of next week, when we know if we're getting out of this lockdown or not."
"We've got a couple of contingencies around finals and what may or may not happen, but at the end of the day we just have to wait and follow government advice," he said.
"Hopefully we get to see a finals series."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: