WRFL ROADMAP – STATEMENT
In view of the current statewide lockdown, in place until at least 11.59pm Thursday September 2, the WRFL has today released its updated roadmap for all competitions.
The key elements of the roadmap are as follows:
- In view of the current lockdown, the home & away season has effectively concluded for all competitions.
- Subject to State Government restrictions, junior finals are set to commence on Sunday September 5 with the first of a two-week knock-out finals series, comprising of the top-4 teams from each applicable junior competition (Under 12s & upwards). Junior Grand Finals are set to be played the following Sunday September 12.
- All WRFL Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s football competitions (including both male & female Under 18s competitions) are set to return from Saturday September 11, again subject to State Government restrictions.
- The TIV Division 1 Senior Men’s & VU Polytechnic Division 1 Senior Women’s football competitions are set to play a three-week top-6 finals series, reduced to a two-week top-4 finals series if necessary, and further reduced to a one-week top-2 finals series/Grand Final if necessary. Each scenario is again subject to State Government restrictions at the time. The Division 1 Senior & Reserve Grand Finals are set to be played the week beginning Monday September 20, most likely on the Friday September 24 Public Holiday.
- The Prestige Group Real Estate Division 2 Senior Men’s & VU Polytechnic Division 2 Senior Women’s football competitions are set to play a two-week top-4 finals series, reduced to a one-week top-2 finals series/Grand Final if necessary.
- The Alan Mance Motors Division 3 Senior Men’s football competition is set to play a two-week top-4 finals series, reduced to a one-week top-2 finals series/Grand Final if necessary.
- Under 18s (male & female) competitions are set to play a two-week top-4 finals series, reduced to a one-week top-2 finals series/Grand Final if necessary.
- Victoria University WRFL Netball is set to resume on Friday September 10, with the first of a two-week knock-out finals series, comprising of the top-4 teams from each division.
For a snapshot of all competitions, click here.
While there remained a desire to maintain the four-week top-5 finals format in place throughout several senior-grade competitions, it was ultimately deemed impractical, if not impossible, to pursue a four-week finals series in the current environment. While both top-4 or top-6 finals models could be run over a three-week block, where possible the WRFL sought to bring a team in to form a 6-team finals series, rather than eliminate a team that had earned its finals place. The League also recognised the inequities between different club fixtures as a result of intermittent lockdowns throughout the season.
In determining the weekend of September 11/12 as its intended resumption date for all senior football competitions, the WRFL hoped to provide clubs and participants alike with a level of certainty, where currently the weekend of September 5/6 is shrouded in uncertainty, and could well remain uncertain until Thursday September 2.
Additionally, and given the significant lay-off from football activity experienced over the past month, it was hoped that a September 11/12 resumption would allow senior clubs the opportunity to complete a body of training prior to finals. This training block is recommended by AFL Victoria in its ‘Covid Functional Framework’, and was matched by club desire for such, evidenced in recent WRFL club surveying. That said, it is expected that players will be keeping themselves fit away from their club at this time, and will be ready to play if/when State Government restrictions allow.
While the WRFL remains steadfast in its desire to play a grand final in all football and netball competitions, venue availability beyond Sunday September 12 presents a challenge to many competitions, particularly to that of the sizeable junior finals make-up. However, in the event the current lockdown extends beyond Sunday September 12, the WRFL will continue to explore all options to provide a grand final opportunity for junior teams in an effort to adequately put a ‘full stop’ on the 2021 junior season.
Click here for a breakdown of the finals structures, including a further explanation of the top-4 and top-6 finals models.
The entirety of the Division 1 Finals Series is set to be played at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee, and the WRFL thanks Werribee Cricket Club for its cooperation in allowing the WRFL access to the premium venue for longer than would typically occur. Other finals venues will be announced in due course.
The roadmap remains subject to further review as more/new information comes to hand.