GISBORNE president John Wood describes his club's decision to pull out of the Bendigo Football-Netball League season as the head overruling the heart.
The heart said that if there was to be a BFNL season we want to be part of it.
But the Bulldogs' head said the health risks associated with being on the doorstep of some of the locked down suburbs of Melbourne and their contingent of players who live, work and go to school in those areas left the safest decision to make to withdraw.
The Bulldogs on Tuesday night became the first club to pull out of the BFNL season, 24 hours before the league and its clubs were due to meet again and thrash out whether to continue to pursue the chance of playing this year or put an end to the uncertainty and call it off.
But for the Bulldogs, their decision was made on Tuesday afternoon once premier Daniel Andrews announced the lockdown of 10 postcodes, including some suburbs of which Gisborne is in close proximity to, such as Keilor Downs, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens, Airport West, Niddrie and Keilor Park.
"We've got players who live and work in those locked down suburbs and girls who go to school (Maribrynong College) in those areas and we feel that this is the call we needed to make," Wood said on Wednesday.
"It was a decision that we made with our head rather than our heart.
"We spoke on Monday night as a committee about how do we mange the situation with our playing group and people who work in these areas, but it escalated through the day on Tuesday. Once the premier made the lockdown announcements that then made it extremely difficult for us.
"It became a very busy afternoon once those announcements were made."
Gisborne footballers and netballers were informed of the club's decision prior to training at Gardner Reserve on Tuesday night, before an email was sent to the club's members detailing the Bulldogs' 2020 withdrawal.
"We gathered all the players and explained the situation. For the players who couldn't be there we had them on Zoom. It wasn't something we wanted to do because we've been in it all the way and wanted to play, but we found ourselves in an untenable situation of how would we manage it," Wood said.
It wasn't something we wanted to do because we've been in it all the way and wanted to play, but we found ourselves in an untenable situation of how would we manage itJohn Wood - Gisborne president
"We've got players who live in those lockdown areas, a lot of tradies who are working in those areas and club officials in essential services who are going into those areas pretty much on a daily basis with their jobs, so we do have a lot of contact with those areas."
Wood said one of the major concerns for the club in making its decision given its proximity and number of people who have close contact to lockdown areas was the risk of bringing a possible COVID-19 case into a community in which it played an away game at.
"These are the questions that were being raised at our committee meeting on Monday night and then there was the enforced lockdown on Tuesday," Wood said.
"Just imagine if we went up and played in Bendigo to an area where there has been very limited cases and you play a club and all of a sudden there might be an outbreak through someone who is asymptomatic... that's certainly not going to make us feel very good.
"Everybody wanted to get the season up and running and I commend the league for hanging on as long as they have and they are fully understanding of our decision.
"It's very disappointing and I'm sure the other clubs will be disappointed. Our players were really keen to play, but they are also very understanding of the situation we found ourselves in.
"For us, it comes back to making a decision that's not based on our heart, but one on our head and what's the most responsible thing to do for our players, our volunteers, our supporters, our community and the communities we may visit."
Meanwhile, while there's a concession that it's unlikely they would have the numbers for an under-17 netball team, Wood says the Bulldogs haven't ruled out the possibility of their under-18s playing in a BFNL junior competition if the senior competition was cancelled.
"We would just need to see what would happen there if there was a competition," Wood said.
"In terms of the lockdown areas, they affect more of the senior guys who are working rather than our under-18s and where they go to school.
"If there was a competition that got up for the under-18s, we're not putting a line through ourselves there.
"If it was strictly controlled I don't see why we couldn't participate in something like that, but we'll see what happens with the league."
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