CHALLENGES STILL TO COME: Darling Downs AFL have released an initial timeline for the return of play, with Downs clubs to only play nine home and away fixtures.
CHALLENGES STILL TO COME: Darling Downs AFL have released an initial timeline for the return of play, with Downs clubs to only play nine home and away fixtures.

Redbacks’ commitment not swayed by short season

AUSSIE RULES: The possibility of a 2020 Aussie Rules season is looking more promising with AFL Darling Downs releasing a proposed timeline for the new season.

Clubs across the Downs would have just nine home and away rounds under the proposed fixture and three weeks of finals footy, anticipated to start on September 12.

Warwick Redbacks head coach Phil Cooney said while there had been no confirmation as to when the season would start, the guidelines were promising for a return.

“A possible start of training could be on June 11, with a view to start games a month later,” he said.

“That I think is all going to revolve around the AFL proper, as to what they hand down.

“But there’s been no real confirmation, but they have a bit of a game plan in place and are on stand-bye until they get the go ahead.”

The league will have gained confidence from the Queensland Government’s Return to Sport guidelines, that detail the measures which must be undertaken by players and officials.

However, Cooney has a strong belief the decision will largely be determined by the financial state of the game.

“It’s going to be money driven because there is a fair bit of finance involved in running a club,” he said.

“Jerseys have to be bought upfront and you have to put sponsorship on there too. Clubs have to pay umpires for games and they’re talking about dropping the payment for them.

“Then you have to buy new footballs every two weeks, under the new rules.

“There’s a fair bit to be ironed out. It’s going to be a hard haul for the rest of the year.”

With just over three weeks to determine the state of the season, Cooney said players were still determined to get some regulated games in this year.

“I feel that the temperament of the players is still in a very good spot, because they’re very hopeful this will be going ahead,” he said.

“We’ve put our toe in the water (about holding an interclub game) and that’s come up around the table.

“It’s a matter of if they want an interclub trial, once the restrictions have lifted, we’d look at it and are in favour of it. Just to get some matches in these boys and get some game experience.

“If they cancel (the whole season), we’ll just have to deal with it in the best way we can.”



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