By Nick Creely
It was inevitable, but now it’s official.
There will be no more local football and netball in 2021, with the latest lockdown extension until at least the 23rd of September dispelling all hopes that a finals series could be possible.
On Thursday 2 September, the Metropolitan Melbourne leagues – Eastern Football Netball League, Essendon District, Northern Football League, Southern Football League, Riddell District, VAFA, Western Region and South Metro Juniors issued a joint statement, confirming that they have mutually agreed to end all 2021 competitions.
“This decision is an extremely difficult one and has not been made lightly,” the statement read.
“All leagues have been working diligently in the hope of enabling the remaining games in the 2021 season to be played.
“However, it is now apparent this will not be possible in the current environment.”
The Metro leagues said it was now time to focus on a return to play next year.
“All leagues are committed to working closely with their member clubs, AFL Victoria and Netball Victoria to manage the associated issues related to the cancellation of all 2021 competitions and working towards a return to play next season,” the statement read.
“We wish to take this opportunity to thank all clubs, players, parents, volunteers, officials, umpires and league partners for your patience, support and cooperation throughout the 2021 season.
“We urge all associated with our respective communities to heed the advice and regulations in place by order of the State Government.
“We all have a role to play in ensuring our community remains safe and healthy so we can all return to football and netball next season.”
In the Eastern Football League Premier Division, Noble Park can be proud of its efforts after finishing second on the table with an 8-2 record in 10 matches.
Across the Southern league divisions, Springvale Districts finished unbeaten in Division 2 with 12 straight wins in a remarkable effort and season, Keysborough finished in fourth with nine wins, and Hampton Park ended just below the Burra with eight win.
In Division 3, Endeavour Hills finished a promising season with seven wins and a fifth-placed finish, while Doveton Eagles battled hard but couldn’t find a win in 2021.
Division 4 saw Hallam finish in fourth with eight wins, while Lyndale and Dandenong both found a win each and have plenty to build on for next season.