ADELAIDE Plains Football League (APFL) will start its 2020 season on July 11 following a decision made at the meeting of club delegates last Wednesday at Mallala.
But the competition will look a little different this season, after Hummocks-Watchman Eagles (HWE) and Balaklava clubs indicated they would not be participating, leaving six teams to compete.
Both clubs had until Monday night to reconsider any changes, and while HWE stood by its decision, Balaklava advised it would monitor further easing of COVID restrictions and consult (again) with club members, players and volunteers.
After a second consultation on the weekend with as many members, players and volunteers as possible, Balaklava Football Club committee met on Monday night to review the situation.
“After much discussion, the club has agreed to stick with its original decision, which is not to participate this season,” president Daniel Butterfield said.
“We are willing to support our players who do want to play elsewhere this season, and will give them a good club to come back to in 2021.”
“We have a good club and have done a lot of work to get our kids back and playing, and we are keen to look towards next season.”
Once restrictions are eased further, both Balaklava and HWE plan to have some type of social events.
APFL president, Michael Vigor, thanked Balaklava and HWE for their input into the decision making process and supported their difficult decision.
“There are no right or wrong decisions in these unprecedented times, and both clubs are still very much a big part of our league, so we want to ensure we have a strong league for them to come back to in 2021.”
In another change, Mr Vigor advised an invitation was extended to Bute Football Club to join the league this season, which has been accepted.
“We made the call to give Bute an opportunity to play, even though it means there is now an odd number of teams in the APFL competition,” Mr Vigor said.
Bute president, Jarrad Cock, said his club was looking forward to playing in the APFL.
“For us, it’s all about allowing our players to continue to play footy and keep going as a club, especially providing something for our kids,” he said.
“This year is certainly a challenge, but there are plenty of clubs in the same boat.”
Mr Vigor said the league was meeting on Thursday night to work out the draw, and said while the grand final would be on September 26, the structure of the finals series was still to be worked out.
“This season is a bit of an opportunity to practice implementation of COVID requirements, and we aim to be in the strongest possible position moving forward for 2021,” he said.