Lockdown easing can’t save local AFL grand finals

Yesterday’s announcement by the NSW Government that the lockdown for the North Coast and Mid North Coast will be lifted at 12:01a.m. on Saturday is great news for our communities, but the ongoing restrictions on community sport means that we are now past the point of being able to stage the 2021 Grand Finals.

By Paul T – AFL North Coast

As a result, AFL North Coast and AFL NSW/ACT have made the unfortunate decision to cancel the 2021 AFL North Coast season.

Not being able to resume in the foreseeable future puts players in the position where they haven’t been able to play or train as a team for more than five weeks. By the time community sport is allowed to resume footy grounds will have been handed over to cricket clubs meaning our players won’t have a facility to train at, and many players will have moved into their summer sport mode.

As a result of the season’s cancellation, the League has made the below determinations:

  1. 2021 premierships will not be awarded;
  2. Individual awards such as Best & Fairest and Leading Goalkicker will be awarded at a later date to be confirmed, and;
  3. With no Premiers declared, the League’s records will acknowledge this season’s Minor Premiers.

The League congratulate each of these sides for their achievements this year during the home & away season:

Senior Grade – Coffs Harbour Breakers

Women’s Grade – Coffs Harbour Breakers

Reserve Grade – Coffs Harbour Breakers

Under 17 – Grafton Tigers

Youth Girls – Sawtell Toormina Saints

Under 15 – Port Macquarie Magpies

Under 13 – Port Macquarie Swoopers

Under 11 – Port Macquarie Flyers

The representative carnival that was to have been staged in Coffs Harbour on 27 and 28 September has also been cancelled.

This is not how we wanted to end our 40th Year of Footy. However, it has unfortunately become the only way to do so. This season has been one like no other, as we celebrated the rich history of our game in the region. It was extremely competitive and deserved to have finals for a conclusion.

Our local AFL community has done an incredible job over the past 18 months in the face of the pandemic. We completed shortened seasons in 2020 when many other sports couldn’t, we’ve seen fantastic growth in both our Junior and Senior Competitions in 2021, and we came so close to completing the 2021 season. A huge thanks to everyone at club level who has kept the faith.

Thank you to our players, coaches, club administrators, volunteers, and spectators for your involvement this season. To the players in the Under 15 and Youth Girls age groups who have missed out on playing their last ever game of Junior footy we say a special thank you.

Finally, to any retiring or departing players, umpires, and outgoing committee members, thank you for your individual contributions to our League and its clubs.

We look forward to a bigger and even better 2022 season.

_______

First published at aflnorthcoast – Thursday 9 September 2021. See; https://aflnorthcoast.com.au/2021/09/09/grand-final-devastation-for-afl-north-coast/

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