Cats ‘behind the eightball’ due to Victoria’s tight COVID-19 restrictions

A Ben Guthrie Dsc 7271  TBW Newsgroup
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY: Have we seen the last of Casterton Sandford in the Western Border Football League.

A Ben Guthrie Dsc 7271 TBW Newsgroup
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY: Have we seen the last of Casterton Sandford in the Western Border Football League.

COVID-19 continues to cause havoc around the globe and in the Limestone Coast it is no different.

The Western Border Football League is now in damage control after recent reports suggest the Casterton Sandford Football Club may be on the lookout for a new home.

The news comes after the Cats have struggled to get back on the training track due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, along with cross-border restrictions which do not allow coach Tom Renzi or assistant Will Macdonald to make the trek across the border and back on a regular basis without going into isolation.

With the club based in Victoria it is bound by the rules governing its state, while the current border restrictions will not allow clubs to travel either way to compete.

WBFL president Michael Summers said should the Cats leave the league it would be a huge blow.

“I have not spoken to Casterton for a couple of weeks, but I think they had a meeting on Tuesday night,” he said.

“I have heard they are looking at other leagues and that will effect us big time.

“We need to start canvassing SANFL and try to move forward as soon as we can.

“We will just have to wait and see.”

But Cats president Nathan Fidler said the club was committed to the 2020 WBFL season, should it go ahead with border restrictions lifted and crowds in place.

“We have put a working party together to explore our options in the future,” he said.

“At this stage we are still cruising along with the Western Border and working closely with them.

“Obviously with what has happened, the border restrictions and all that, we have to explore where we are at and where we are going to be.

“I have spoken to the Western Border and spoken to Michael Mourbey about what our options are for the future.

“Michael Mourbey commended us and believes we are doing the right thing for the future.”

The Cats also struggle with funding from the Victorian and South Australian governing bodies due to their location.

Fidler said there was some light there with AFL Victoria contacting them this week about future assistance.

Summers confirmed his recent stance on Casterton, again stating if the Cats could not play, the league would not go ahead.

“We are just waiting on border restrictions to be lifted and we will go from there,” Summers said.

“We have already said we will not play if the border restrictions are not lifted.”

The restrictions in Victoria vary from those in South Australia, with the Cats behind the game as far as training is concerned.

“We are behind the eightball big time,” Fidler said.

“When you look at the restrictions the last thing they say is border restrictions.

“That is just the world we are living in at the moment.”

Fidler said health concerns were also a worry for the little Victorian town.

“Being a smaller town, volunteers are not real keen to be around at the moment,” he said.

“We have a lot of older people involved and they are a bit worried about what is going on in the world.”

As for the remaining teams based in South Australia, Summers said it was all “full steam ahead”.

“Contact training can start as of Monday with four groups of 20 on the field which is a positive for us,” he said.

“I was out at South (Wednesday night) and they had probably 30 B Graders out there – the most they have had since they started training.

“That is good.”

Summers said the WBFL has three meetings pencilled in between now and June 15, with a decision on the season possible in that time.

However, he said the league would not rush into a decision at this stage.

“We are not making any calls until right on death’s knock, maybe two weeks out before the 1st of August to say yay or nay,” he said.

“We are going to leave it until the last minute if we can – it changes every day.”