The league will enter its biggest marathon of the modern era when it resumes on the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
As expected, the O and M season was put on hold on Thursday following the announcement's of Victoria's week-long COVID lockdown following an increase in the Whittlesea cluster, in Melbourne's outer northern suburbs.
That lockdown finishes at 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3, meaning the league could have re-started on Saturday, June 5, but it's been delayed a week.
"The main aspects there were in the interests of the competition's integrity and fairness," new O and M general manager Craig Millar conceded.
"There's (Victorian) clubs that can't train and (NSW) clubs that can, so it would have been difficult for coaches and players to prepare for matches just over 24 hours later (after the lockdown).
"And there's also the impact on volunteers with what would have been 24 hours notice."
In Victoria over the next week, people are only allowed to train for an hour a day and in pairs, while NSW clubs can train as per normal.
Wangaratta premiership coach Dean Stone was one to support the league's delayed resumption.
"I actually like the decision that Craig and his team have come up with, I think that gives us a good opportunity to get back together, if they release the lockdown next Thursday, it only gives clubs a day to prepare, probably the playing is easier, it's the work with volunteers you have to get right," he suggested.
Given last year was written off due to COVID, the O and M was clever enough to include two split rounds into the second half of the season to cater for any issues.
But they have now been taken, which means the league faces a monster 15-week block to finish the year.
The remaining 11 rounds will be followed immediately by the four-week finals.
In recent years, a number of byes or split rounds have been built into the competition, allowing players a mini-rest.
"Eleven weeks of (home and away) football is going to be pretty brutal, do you back off on what you were going to do over the next couple of weeks, who knows?," Myrtleford co-coach Jake Sharp offered.
"Once again, this is unchartered territory stuff and there's no formula for it."
The league was coming off an already planned interleague bye last week, with eight teams playing on May 15.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Albury and Yarrawonga will end up having five weeks off as the pair didn't play on May 15 after starting a week earlier than most.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: