Community sport on hold, again

By Brayden May

SPORTING venues across Victoria have fallen silent again.

The sound of players calling for the ball and spectators cheering for team-lifting efforts have disappeared again after the Victorian Government announced another ban on community sport on Sunday.

The decision comes as a blow to many junior competitions across the region whose respective seasons had just started, while senior leagues never got off the ground.

Echuca Football Club junior president Justin Hatfield said it was disappointing to learn players from his club would be missing out.

“Unfortunately the situation was out of our control once the government made their announcement,” he said.

“But we're very lucky we were able to play some games in an official competition over the past couple of weeks.

“I would have been shattered to see the kids not play after several weeks of training.

“As a club, our numbers were pretty good when we did come back so hopefully giving the kids a taste means they'll come back again next year.

“It will be great if we are able to do something, such as a family day at the club, when this is all over.

“We will be trying to keep as positive as possible.”

Echuca United president Ian Johnson agreed it was important there was at least some junior football and netball played this year.

“I'm very disappointed and I do feel for all of our players,” he said.

“The club has plans in place to hopefully get the kids together in the coming months if restrictions are eased again.

“It's very important our players do stay in touch with each other to help get through another difficult period.

“As a club, we will send out any further information we do receive to parents and guardians.

“I urge everyone in the community to work together so we can get back to some sort of normality as soon as possible.”

The tightened restrictions — which will come into effect at 11.59pm on Wednesday — will see community sport shut down along with indoor sport and recreation, swimming pools and most outdoor recreation facilities.

Golf will survive the new restrictions, as will the likes of fishing, boating and tennis as long as they take place with only one other person or members of the same household.

“These changes will be in place for at least the next six weeks. As always, we’ll keep reviewing and re-aligning the restrictions in line with the advice of our health experts — and if we can change things earlier, we will,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“I know there’ll also be questions about why restrictions are needed in some communities that have no cases.

“But as we’ve learnt over the course of things, just because you have no cases today — doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow.

“And when the cost of failure is measured in lives, it’s a risk we cannot afford to take.”

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