Football president reports on season threatened by the pandemic

MESSAGE: Northern Areas Football Association president Andrew Bowley delivers his message to the Mail Medai dinner at the Booleroo Centre Town Hall.

MESSAGE: Northern Areas Football Association president Andrew Bowley delivers his message to the Mail Medai dinner at the Booleroo Centre Town Hall.

The Northern Areas Football Association's shortened season began with no-one knowing how it would unfold.

This is according to association president Andrew Bowley in his report to the Mail Medal dinner at the Booleroo Centre Town Hall on Monday.

The dinner was attended more than 80 representatives of all clubs including Jamestown-Peterborough which took no part in the coronavirus-hit season.

Bowley said it was also a "shortened night".

"With many restrictions in force and no-one knowing what was going to unfold, we had a lack of information and information that came out just in time to make it difficult for clubs to reach a decision whether to go ahead with a 2020 season," he said,

"Netball chose not to play for many reasons, a lot around Netball SA, insurance and safety.

"At the association meeting on June 15 - our deadline for a decision - the clubs decided to go ahead if some key targets were met in the relaxation of rules around playing football.

"Luckily they were met and five clubs decided to play. Jamestown-Peterborough decided not to play after much deliberation and all clubs were very respectful of that decision, even talking about how to help Jamestown-Peterborough.

"Football started on Saturday, July 4, and we are now halfway through the finals and it looks like we will coimplete a shortened, but successful year.

"The reasons for playing as I saw it was that junior football would suffer greatly from not playing both skill-wise and those in their last year of minis, junior colts and senior colts would not gain that confidence boost of being the big kids and dominating which carries them into the next grade.

"Clubs would lose far more than they gained in terms of players staying at their club and with voiunteers staying involved. Club cultures and environments would stay intact.

"Mental health and wellness of all involved and the towns their clubs take in were factors. It was great to see one another at the first game where we possibly had some of the best crowds for the year.

"Financially, it was always going to be a bit of a gamble, but with the salary cap going to zero and better-than-expected crowds, it looks like clubs and the association should come out of it okay.

"There is no script for a year like this."

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