CALLED OFF: This year’s junior AFL players will be forced to wait until 2021 to get their season underway, unlike the 2019 Warwick Redbacks under 14 team. Picture: contributed
CALLED OFF: This year’s junior AFL players will be forced to wait until 2021 to get their season underway, unlike the 2019 Warwick Redbacks under 14 team. Picture: contributed

FINAL WHISTLE: Redbacks' junior season cancelled

AUSSIE RULES: YOUNG AFL players will need to wait until 2021 to take the field again, as the Warwick Redbacks withdraw their junior team from the regional competition.

July 11 has been all but set as the return date for senior fixtures, however low registration numbers caused by coronavirus concerns forced the club to withdraw from this year's junior league.

Warwick Redbacks club president Vince White said continued coronavirus fears made it difficult to bring enough players and their parents back on board before AFLQ's June 10 registration date.

"With the current coronavirus, a lot of the families aren't really interested in bringing their kids out and risking that interaction," White said.

"I had seven kids really interested in playing, but unfortunately I need 14 to build a team.

"I expected a lot of the kids to be really keen to come back for the fact that they'd realised that playing sport was a privilege and not a right, so it was a bit of a shock to not get the numbers."

However, White added that even if the young Redbacks' season did get underway, it would have looked very different for athletes and spectators alike.

"There was only going to be a potential for five games this year, so it was going to be a lot of work and effort for so few games," he said.

"(Spectators) will vary on what the government approves - if we can have the bar and canteen open we'd be back in full swing, but if not most spectators would have to watch from their cars.

"We didn't start up junior training either, because we didn't want to get anyone's hopes up just to let them down again."

Following the season's axing, White said the Redbacks' new focus for juniors would be renewing the younger community's interest in the sport in time for the 2021 competition.

"The community's interest has dropped quite dramatically - we were a full side years ago, with Under 12s, 14s, and 16s," White said.

"We're going to try and really push the juniors, and we're going to work with AFLQ and Auskick to try and get kids interested in AFL again.

"We're definitely hoping that the seniors' season will get some kids talking about AFL in their schools, and get them interested enough in the sport to fill the entire (Darling Downs) league, not just our club."

For more information on playing for or sponsoring the Warwick Redbacks AFL Club, contact Vince White on 0457 570 947.



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