A return to traditional finals are back on the agenda, following a surprise COVID annoucement by the NSW Government on Thursday.
It extended the lockdown in regional NSW until 12.01am on Saturday, August 28.
The move stunned many football followers, who were working on the theory the lockdown would run until the same time overnight on Sunday, August 29.
If the lockdown ends, as planned, it would allow community sport to be held on the Saturday and not just the Sunday.
When the O and M confirmed on Wednesday it was planning a 'Super Sunday' of finals on August 29, with the qualifying and elimination finals to be held next to each other at Wangaratta's Norm Minns Oval and WJ Findlay Oval respectively, it based that on the widely-held belief that the lockdown would automatically rule out its traditional qualifying final on Saturday, August 28.
Given nobody saw the lockdown finishing in the early hours of a Saturday and not Sunday, the O and M was not in a position to confirm its plans until speaking with all the clubs.
Meantime, the Hume League would jump at the chance to play its first week of finals on the Saturday and Sunday.
"We'd be good to go for that Saturday," Hume president Brendan I'Anson suggested.
Of course, given the case numbers throughout NSW yesterday (681), and particularly regional NSW, including 20 in Dubbo, no sports supporter is confident there will be community sport in the coming weeks.
"It's a longshot and the rest of the community would agree, but if we can start on that Saturday, we'd proceed as planned," I'Anson offered.
If the best-case scenario eventuated with COVID, it would mean the region's three big leagues would all start finals on the same weekend.
Historically, Tallangatta and District always starts a week before the O and M and Hume and therefore finishes a week earlier.
However, all three could potentially finish on the one weekend, September 18-19.
I'Anson said he had spoken with his TDFL counterpart Rex Gray on Thursday and would make sure he spoke to O and M officials to guarantee there's no grand final clash.
"It might mean Tallangatta could host its grand final on a Saturday and us on the Sunday," he revealed.
"There's only a certain amount of people to go around and you're not going to host the grand finals on the same days because it's only cutting into your own crowd."
O and M general manager Craig Millar reiterated I'Anson comments about a grand final clash.
"Nobody wants to see the leagues overlap there," he agreed.
And despite the numerous COVID distractions, I'Anson says players are still desperate to play finals.
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"We'd look to play our traditional top six in finals and if COVID interrupts, we'd chip away at it for as long as we can," he explained of the desire to finish what's been an exhausting season.
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