Get ready to hear the half time siren ring out once again at football ovals across the district this month, as local footy finally gets under way.
Two Wells Football Club senior leadership player Dylan Wise and A Grade coach Neville “Cheeky” Seccafien are eagerly awaiting the start of the football season on July 11.
It has been months of uncertainty for clubs throughout the state, including the Adelaide Plains Football League (APFL), but as COVID-19 restrictions ease, some sort of season has been salvaged for many keen footballers.
Late last month APFL delegates unanimously voted to start the 2020 season on Saturday, July 11 but the competition will look a lot different this year, with Hummocks and Balaklava football clubs opting out and Bute Football Club invited to take part in the Adelaide Plains league.
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 wrongs 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.
At Two Wells Football Club, senior players have been training under strict social distancing measures for the past few weeks, with junior players taking to the field in the last week of June.
TWF&NSC president and COVID-safe officer, Adrian Daly, was pleased to let members know the club was taking part in the season and was intending to nominate all four junior grades and two senior grades.
“There will still be some hurdles along the way but with the continued and rapid easing of restrictions we believe we can meet the requirements put before us,” Adrian said in a post on the club’s facebook page.
“While this is good news for our footballers we feel for our netballers who at this stage are not able to play this season.
“APNA has indicated it may investigate options to run some skill sessions and a possibility of some games.
“We as a club will fully support our netballers to be involved if this does occur.”
A Grade football coach, Neville “Cheeky” Seccafien is pleased the season has not been lost, praising the dedication and commitment of his players throughout the past few months.
“With the 2020 season in unchartered territory with the COVID-19 situation, it has been pleasing to have between 15 and 20 players coming to each training session in the hope the season would eventuate,” he said.
“The first two weeks of training was difficult, having to navigate distancing restrictions, resulting in training in groups of only 10, with the oval divided in three designated zones.
“Outside of club training there has been groups of players really keen to play competitive sport and conducting their own fitness sessions.
“Once the APFL decided that the season would go ahead, we saw a dramatic increase in numbers at training, jumping to 29, and the whole mood at training lifted in anticipation.
“It was a clear indicator to our club that our playing group wanted the season to go on.”
While the season will not give the club a chance to redeem themselves against last year’s premier Hummocks, Neville is confident the players will always give their best.
“With the withdrawal of Hummocks and Balaklava from the 2020 season and the addition of Bute Football Club, it will certainly be a season like none before,” he said.
“I think it will add to the interest in the league and football community in general.
“We will approach the season with the same desire for success, as each week we will be playing for premiership points and most of all our pride.”
“We are investigating the opportunity to also get our female footballers on the park this season.”