The Gatton men's team claimed victory in the Winstanley Shield earlier this year.
The Gatton men's team claimed victory in the Winstanley Shield earlier this year.

Redbacks waiting for season restart details

THE Gatton Redbacks Football Club (GRFC) had only just kicked off its men’s games when the coronavirus lockdown was enforced, bringing the season to a halt and creating uncertainty as to how the sport could resume.

Senior men’s player and club vice-president Jackson Bell said this week the club was now waiting for further direction from their governing body – Football Queensland South-West – about how an amended season might operate.

“After a four-month break, we’re in uncharted waters,” Mr Bell said.

“We’re not entirely sure what will happen. Football Queensland will come to us with their options for a season schedule, and then it’s whether or not our members are willing to accept a different looking season.”

Mr Bell said there was a possibility the season could run from July to October, but details could be dependent on whether seniors were willing to travel midweek for games and how this would fit in with summer sports.

The club currently has 240 players forming three men’s teams, one women’s team, and 18 junior teams from under 6s to under 17s.

The men’s teams, Mr Bell said, had played two regular season rounds at the start of Mach before the shutdown, as well as four pre-season games with USQ in the Winstanley Shield – which they won.

The junior competition had been due to start a few days after the lockdown became effective.

“We were sending messages out ready to tell everyone where to meet at the weekend.

“It was really tough for the juniors as they’d just finished training together for five or six weeks.

“They’d settled in and were ready to play then the season was cancelled.

“They might come back on July 1 but everyone’s got to retrain again – it’s like a complete reset.”

Mr Bell said the summer comps usually started late November and he didn’t envisage any clashes as they were midweek and at night.

“Our biggest problem at the moment is making sure our members can get through to July 1.

“We’ve only had a few people request refunds.”

He said Football Queensland was delaying any refunds, and was hoping to facilitate “a meaningful season”.

The usual season runs for 25 weeks for the seniors and 20 weeks for the juniors, and Mr Bell said he was hoping to find out over the next couple of weeks a potential structure for the next few months.

“It could be a 10-week midweek season – we don’t know yet.

“The seniors might have midweek games and the juniors will probably have a shorter season between July 1 and October.

“Once we get options laid out in front of us, we can only ask members if they’re happy with this.”

He said the club was “fine” in maintaining itself during the COVID-19 restrictions and had focused on field maintenance.

“We’ve had good support fro everything and I think everyone is ready to go again.

“It probably more affects the governing bodies who are struggling because they have paid employees, but we’re all volunteer-based.”

The seniors, he said, were keeping fit with Zoom fitness sessions and solo running training.

While the juniors in the Miniroos competition had been given online challenges and exercises from Football Queensland with the option of posting videos on the GRFC Facebook page.

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