SDJFL targeting July 18 for season start

By Brayden May

THE Shepparton District Junior Football League is hoping to start its season on the weekend of July 18 and 19.

League officials confirmed their decision at a meeting last week, with under 10, 12, 14, 16 and youth girls’ competitions again to be offered.

President Mark Lambourn said while the nine-week school term from July to September was the basis for an extraordinary season, the league would announce rosters in two lots.

“We’ve been monitoring closely what we can and cannot do and while we believe we have a green light, we’re going to release an initial draw for four weeks and following that a five-week roster,’’ Lambourn said.

Lambourn admitted the league was ready to commence competition immediately, but with a sufficient lead-time required for clubs to get ready, feedback from a survey and the pending school holidays, it was decided that July 18 would mark football’s long-awaited return.

“We’re the first (football league) in the region (to announce that we are playing) and while there are so many intricacies for senior leagues and sport in general, we’re glad that we can make that commitment to the juniors,” he said.

“It’s all about junior development and there’s kids itching to get back to running around, burning off some energy and getting all the benefits that sport provides.”

There will be restrictions and guidelines released to clubs regarding supporter and parent presence at quarter-time huddles, along with the COVID officer’s role ensuring all precautions are taken and followed.

But the president is confident the fun won’t be lost.

“It will be different, there are restrictions of course, but we’re going to ensure our players have fun and don't look upon 2020 as a season where there was no sport for them. It’s exciting we can provide that,’’ Lambourn said.

Clubs will finalise their numbers in coming days before the draw is released during the school holidays.

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