THE challenges the Bendigo Football-Netball League faces in getting through its junior seasons were made clear on Saturday's opening day with the postponement of three games.
Two under-18 football matches and one 17-under netball game were postponed for COVID-19 safety precautions.
The Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat and Maryborough v Castlemaine under-18 football matches were both postponed in relation to the positive test of a worker at Don KR Castlemaine.
And the Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat 17-under-netball match was postponed due to a player attending a school outside the Greater Bendigo region where there has been a positive COVID-19 test reported.
BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins said on Saturday that while the league remains committed to running the two competitions over a nine-week home and away season, followed by a finals series, it would not take any risks in relation to COVID-19.
"We're not prepared to take any risks, no matter how small. We'll assess each situation on its merits and make calls that are in everyone's best interests," Tomlins said.
We're not prepared to take any risks, no matter how small. We'll assess each situation on its merits and make calls that are in everyone's best interests.Cameron Tomlins - BFNL manager
The Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat clash scheduled for the QEO was the first of the football matches to be postponed at around 7pm on Friday night.
The decision was made after the BFNL was alerted to the parent of one of the players involved in the game being an employee of Don KR Castlemaine, which now has five COVID-19 cases linked to it.
"Although the player was not displaying any symptoms and it remains extremely unlikely the family member has been exposed in any form, due to the request for routine testing for all employees the league has decided to take a cautious approach by postponing the under-18 football match between Golden Square and Kangaroo Flat," the league said in a statement.
That postponement was followed on Saturday morning by the Maryborough v Castlemaine game also being called off, again as a precautionary measure regarding the Don KR Castlemaine positive test.
"The league has been made aware of further family members of officials and players associated with this specific match who are currently in isolation and awaiting COVID-19 routine test results," the league's statement read.
"Although again extremely unlikely, the BFNL board is not willing to take any risks with the health and well-being of every person associated with the league or local community in general at the forefront of all league decisions."
Tomlins said the board would dissect the weekend's postponements, but remained committed to the competition continuing providing it's safe to do so.
"We're still committed to offering participation where it's safe. We'll sit down and have a discussion about what has happened because this is a situation that's constantly evolving by the hour," Tomlins said.
"We will show flexibility and continue to assess and make calls where we need to.
"But there's no benefit in us taking any risk, no matter how small."
In round one games that did go ahead on Saturday, the under-18 football winners were South Bendigo and Strathfieldsaye, while 17-and-under netball victors were South Bendigo, Castlemaine and Sandhurst.
SIGN UP FOR BEST ON GROUND, THE AFL NEWSLETTER YOU CAN'T MISS: Straight into your mailbox every Thursday before the first bounce