PDFNL still hopeful despite closed border

By Jamie Lowe

The Picola & District Football Netball League is still working towards getting a junior competition up and running for this year despite various hurdles being put in its way.

A proposed start date for junior football and netball competitions has been pencilled in for July 18.

This will be difficult now however, with Monday’s announcement of the NSW-Victoria border closure throwing a spanner in the works.

The border between the two states was closed at midnight on Tuesday, and the consensus is it would be six weeks before it reopens — or longer.

With the Coronavirus pandemic changing each day, league operations manager Shane Railton said the border closure could provide an opportunity for a more flexible fixture.

‘‘It may present an opportunity for our New South Wales–based clubs and Victorian–based clubs to play against each other until the border reopens,’’ he said.

‘‘It may be a possibility, although based on Daniel Andrews’ comments regarding regional Victoria potentially being opened up, who knows.

‘‘We are awaiting responses from clubs (on what they want to do), which is varied at this stage, and will need some time to work through this.

‘‘We currently have a survey out to clubs which only some clubs have completed to date. The board is not even aware of the results received to date and it’s not intended to send to the board until all are received.

‘‘From there it is likely clubs will be informed and we will work with the clubs keen to continue and determine what can be achieved.

‘‘No time limit has been placed on it (a decision) at this stage.’’

The league said it would pursue a junior competition after all open-age competitions were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed junior season will include an eight-round fixture, three weeks of finals and a grand final on September 26.

‘‘It was raised at the last club delegates’ meeting and we are waiting for clubs to inform us of their intentions to play,’’ Railton said.

Since that meeting, it is believed NSW teams Deniliquin Rovers, Blighty, Berrigan, Jerilderie, and Rennie have already signalled their intentions to feature teams in a modified NSW only season.

When speaking with the Pastoral Times on Wednesday, Mathoura Football Netball Club president Andrew Pridham confirmed the Timbercutters board chose to withdraw from the 2020 season following a meeting on Tuesday night.

Fellow NSW club Tocumwal is still unsure on what it will do, with president Dennis Sutton stating the club declined to participate in a league wide junior competition. He has since said the club would be interested in a NSW only competition.

‘‘We’d have to wait to hear what the league says in regards to a New South Wales round robin. We would also have to talk to our coaches, parents and players to hear their thoughts,’’ Sutton said.

A PDFNL season including teams on both sides of the border is unlikely to get going, with Victorian teams Picola United, Katunga and Strathmerton confirming they will not field a team in 2020.