More important for the competition to resume than it was for the Melbourne-based players.- Craig Millar
The Ovens and Murray Football League clubs have unselfishly put the competition ahead of themselves in agreeing to resume next weekend without Melbourne-based players.
Victoria had a COVID lockdown introduced last week and while regional areas emerged from it last night, Melbourne hasn't.
That runs until next Thursday night, but the Victorian Government has already announced Melbourne-based residents still won't be able to travel into regional areas over the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
It means the league's five non Albury-Wodonga teams, in particular, will be severely weakened.
"All clubs want to go into every game with the best possible team they can field, however in the best interests of the competition, on the back of the momentum over the first seven rounds and having already had weeks out of the game (the first through an already scheduled interleague bye and the next two through COVID), it was more important for the competition to resume than it was for the Melbourne-based players to play," general manager Craig Millar offered Thursday night after a board meeting.
The league was in a terribly difficult position because if it decided to push the resumption back another week, to June 19, it would have had to extend the season a week later to September 26.
It also ran the risk that if restrictions aren't lifted to the stage where Melbourne people are allowed to travel to regional areas, as hoped, the competition would have effectively wasted a weekend it can't really afford to lose.
"The overarching philosophy of all clubs is we need to get back playing as soon as we possibly can," Millar revealed.
Following the introduction of last week's lockdown, the O and M decided it would resume on June 12 with round 10.
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However, as only one of those games were NSW-based, the league's elected to resume with round nine, which has three.
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