Hume league bosses hope the cancellation of this weekend's round will ultimately save the season.
The decision to lock down Victoria and the news that infected Sydney removalists had stopped at a Jindera petrol station on the same day the Bulldogs were playing Culcairn made for a perfect storm.
Some clubs would have been so under-manned they faced the prospect of forfeiting games just weeks out from the finals series.
So the integrity of the competition, as well as the health of players and supporters, were the major factors in calling off the weekend's action late on Friday afternoon.
"We just ran out of numbers," league vice-president Philip Bouffler explained.
"We have a lot of players and coaches who are based in Victoria and with their stay-at-home order, they simply couldn't play.
"Then there was the Jindera aspect. Lockhart might have been worried about people from Jindera turning up at Lockhart and the spread of COVID.
"There wasn't really a basis for that, going on NSW Health, but we had to err on the side of caution.
"For the sake of one week's pain, we're hopeful we'll get long-term gain out of it.
"Everyone I've spoken to, all the presidents, think we've made the right decision.
"Presidents were getting a lot of phone calls from members who may have expressed a few concerns about it all.
"In junior football, there's a lot of grandparents who attend so there was a variety of reasons.
"It was just a safe option and we're hoping it's a one-off for this weekend."
Had the round gone ahead, some clubs would have been at a major disadvantage.
"There was one side which had 20 first and second-grade players unavailable," Bouffler revealed.
"We were surprised how many netballers and footballers live across the river.
"It would have compromised the draw. Some sides could play, some couldn't, so do we call it a forfeit and one side gets four points or do we give two points to everybody?
"It all got too hard.
"Instead of 10 netball sides, maybe one club had four sides that couldn't play.
"There probably wouldn't have been any seconds football because most of them would have had to play firsts.
"It would have been a nightmare to manage."
Rounds 14 to 18 will be played over the next five weekends, with finals starting on August 28.
The Hume league grand final remains locked in for Saturday, September 18.
"Round 13 has disappeared, it's fallen into a hole, and hopefully we'll pick up with round 14 next week," Bouffler said.
"It's important to note that we've played more than enough games to fulfil our obligation to hold a finals series.
"We'd rather drop a game off in the home-and-away season.
"It's harder to extend finals because then we come up against other leagues' finals.
"We wanted to stick to our dates but the simplest thing was to call this round null and void.
"At the end of the day, there were more than enough clubs who didn't feel comfortable playing.
"Hopefully the Victorian situation improves and the border bubble can get going again because that'll solve a lot of our issues."
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AFL Southern NSW boss Marc Geppert supported the league's decision not to play.
"It's always disappointing when footy and netball games don't go ahead but with the impacts of the Victorian border closure and the Jindera exposure site, it has become difficult to fixture all scheduled games," he said.
"The AFL can only follow the most up-to-date health advice and update leagues accordingly.
"At the end of the day, it's the league's decision.
"In this case, I can understand why this weekend's games won't go ahead."
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