WAGGA Tigers coach Murray Stephenson has joined the chorus of key football figures who are confused why community sport can't proceed when lockdown ends.
The state government confirmed on Thursday up to 500 people can attend seated and ticketed outdoor events, but specifically raised community sport as an activity which can't resume.
AFL Riverina is awaiting the public health order to see if they can play under the rule, which they used to play a shortened AFL Riverina Championship season last year.
Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes coach Jeremy Rowe has also questioned the perceived inconsistencies in the eased restrictions.
The Tigers and Goannas were due to meet in one of two cut throat semi finals, should sport have been given the green light.
"It's a confusing situation for us everyday punters who don't understand the extent of everything that's going on, or can't comprehend it," Stephenson said.
"It is confusing and I probably share his frustrations a bit that there's been no cases here, and we're still not allowed to play footy. We'll just to learn to live with it.
"There's so many bizarre things like that where you can do 'a' but not 'b', and on face value they seem reasonably similar. But as I said the whole situation is confusing, and it's just part of it unfortunately.
"There'll probably be a couple of guys who will have a sense of relief that there's some clarity around what's happening."
Like most other clubs, the Tigers have used the unexpected downtime to begin assessing their squad for next year.
Stephenson expects the side to remain relatively stable, with the youngsters blooded this year keen to stay and build on that foundation.
Ruckman Tom Osmotherly, forward Jock Cornell and Stephenson were already contracted for 2022 before the season began.
The youthful Tigers began the year slowly, but found some form in the back end despite missing a handful of senior players through injury.
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"We're looking pretty good, all the young guys look like they're staying on. I've spoken to basically all of them the last five or so weeks, and they're all keen," he said.
"Getting a chance to play some senior footy this year has probably given them a bit of a stir to rock up pre season, and have another crack at it.
"We had our lessons early against Ganmain and Mango. We had some steep learning curves as a group, especially those young guys.
"But the big thing was they always rocked up ready to go again, and they got better as the year went on."
Stephenson said convincing the young players they were not only good enough to play senior footy, but didn't have to be the stars, was the main focus.
"The thing that stuck out to me during pre season was the guys had some great attributes and if you can just teach them their role in the side, you're going to get a lot of benefit out of them," he said.
"Someone like Cooper Pavitt for example, it's not about him coming out and kicking three or four goals week in week out. It's working out his role which is competing and getting to contest, and talent will take care of the rest.
"Early in the season some of the young boys were short of belief and thought they couldn't do it, but the senior players and selectors had a fair bit of confidence in them.
"In the 17s they're used to being the best players on the field, and their expectation on themselves when they play senior footy is I've got to do what I'm doing in the 17s because that's why I got picked, but that's not the case.
"We don't expect you to have 35 touches or kick four or five goals, we just want you to do your little part that makes us better as a team."
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