Following the announcement at a delegates meeting on February 17 that the Border-Walwa Football Netball Club will go into recess for the upcoming season, the Upper Murray Football Netball League (UMFNL) has finalised a five-club 2020 draw. Each team has six home games and will play each other three times.
The clubs have three byes during the season, although these are not evenly spaced over five rounds in some cases. In a six-team competition, the Corryong Recreation Reserve ground would have a game played on it every week of the home and away season with the Corryong and Federal clubs alternating week about.
That is not possible with a five team fixture so there will be four occasions this season when games will not be played in Corryong. In the first round both the Corryong and Cudgewa grounds have not been scheduled for home games to allow extra time to recover from not just the fire related activities but also the Man from Snowy River Bush Festival in Corryong and the music event this weekend and the ‘Footy for Fires’ event on March 14th being held at Cudgewa. The Blues also have the bye in round two.
Anzac weekend matches will be played on Sunday April 26th and there will be two general byes during the season - on June 13th (Queen’s Birthday weekend) and on July 4th. It had previously been proposed that the draw incorporate a number of double-header games during the season but due to the impact of the bushfires, there had been a delay in the tender process for new netball courts at Bullioh and Cudgewa. However, clubs can mutually arrange double-headers among themselves.
“The final draw is a balanced outcome and achieves the requests from the clubs and the league,” said AFL North East Border general manager, Gavin Rendell.
Clubs get a free kick
The AFL has come to the aid of bushfire affected football and netball clubs with grants from its recently established Community Relief Fund.
The grants will support local communities in fire affected areas to repair and rebuild their football clubs and help sporting families. Almost 50 clubs most affected by the fires including those in the Upper Murray, have received $5000 to help pay for repairs or the cost of training. Another 216 clubs received $2500 each from the relief fund.
“The reason we are making this initial payment is that after feedback from clubs to our regional and state bodies, we understand the fires will also impact your club’s ability to pay bills, raise funds, put on training and field teams,” AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, wrote in a letter to the grant recipients.
“Your club and all community football clubs are not only key members of the AFL family and a great place for players, coaches, volunteers and supporters but also play such an important role in connecting and providing a meeting place for the wider community.”