Player safety was paramount in the Border Districts Football Club’s reasoning to stand down its junior teams in the 2020 season due to continued uncertainty amid the coronavirus.
The club’s committee members, who met at Frances home ground on Thursday evening, unanimously agreed to the decision during their general meeting.
It follows the club’s judgement to halt senior side matches as a result of the pandemic.
“Certainly there is some disappointment but overwhelmingly people understand the reason behind it and are fully supportive of that,” the club’s co-junior football director Darren Walter explained.
However, Walter, who resides at the club’s second homeground town of Grook across the border, said the decision did not come easy.
“There were lots of discussion, lots of phone calls, of what was available to players and about the border restrictions,” Walter said.
The SA government had agreed to ease travel restrictions between SA and Victoria from July 20.
“We were aiming to and expecting to put in a side with the expectation that border restrictions would lift, but with what is happening in Melbourne (reported coronavirus cases) we just felt there was too much uncertainty,” he said.
“At the end of the day you do what you believe is right, putting safety first and go from there,” he added.
The club, which formed in 1999, to date has half of its junior players (U14s and U17s) either living in SA or Victoria.
Optimistically, Walter and the committee feel the recent decision now enables their players the opportunity to fill in for another side within the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League (KNTFL).
“Whether this be kids south side of the border clubs within KNFL or those play for a Victorian base side competition,” he said.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus has meant plenty of challenges for the club’s committee members, whose two home grounds are divided by a border and located some 90kms apart.
Walter said that while most meetings have been via phone discussions, Thursday’s meeting was held in SA with police support involved in the decision.
“We needed to be sure we were allowed to do this and want to be seen as doing the right thing.”
For now, he and the club look forward to the return of their players in 2021.