PLAYERS and officials in the Maccabi Victoria community are understanding of the necessity of all grassroots sport coming to a grinding halt again for at least another six weeks due to the reintroduction of stage 3 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions across Melbourne from July 8.
But they’re certainly feeling the pain of their hopes of playing winter sport being dashed for a second time.
It all happened so quickly.
Up until midday on Tuesday, the only confirmed blow was the Victorian Amateur Football Association’s (VAFA) decision on July 2 to cancel all its senior footy competitions, effectively cancelling the 2020 footy season for AJAX’s men’s and women’s teams before it even started.
The club’s president Ronnie Lewis told The AJN on Monday it was a real shame, given the teams had trained hard for a shortened season that was pencilled in to start in the last week of July.
“To be honest, the VAFA’s decision was disappointing, but it was no surprise – and it was based on the health and safety implications for all involved in community footy,” Lewis said.
“It is tough for our players who have experienced the longest pre-season in history, particularly those who were due to play in their debut season, or maybe their last season.
“But our committee will meet soon to see what ways we can still keep our members engaged for the rest of this year.”
AJAX women’s team co-captain Justine Gabriel described the season’s cancellation as “very frustrating and disappointing, but understandable because it is in the interests of the wider community”.
“We trained hard and also gained a lot of young recruits, so hopefully they will stick with us,” Gabriel said.
“We’ll really miss the social side of things and just training and playing together – footy is such a good outlet for staying connected.”
By early Tuesday afternoon, all rescheduled senior and junior sport winter season start dates had to be rubbed out, and those competitions are now either effectively cancelled or on life support.
Youngsters at AJAX Junior Footy Club and Maccabi FC Caulfield had played practice matches less than a fortnight ago, and cruelly, were supposed to finally begin their seasons this weekend, and their colleagues at Maccabi Hockey Club the weekend after.