SENIOR teams in the region keen to begin their preparations for, hopefully, the return of community football in 2021 can now do so in groups of 10.
AFL Victoria has released an updated set of return to training and games protocols for clubs given pre-season training will now be on the horizon for some.
Protocols are separated into regional and metropolitan competitions given the varying levels of government restrictions between the two.
Currently no senior or junior training for metropolitan teams can commence.
For senior teams (aged 19 and over) in regional Victoria, non-contact training (no tackling, bumping, marking contests) is permitted in groups of 10 at an outdoor facility.
Multiple groups of 10 are permitted, but a distance of 100m must be maintained.
Players who reside in a "restricted area" are unable to participate, while the use of indoor facilities other than changerooms and toilets is not permitted.
For junior teams (aged 18 and under) in regional Victoria outdoor training can commence with no group number restrictions, but like seniors, can not include a player who resides in a "restricted area".
"From AFL Central Victoria's perspective the protocols have been provided, so as long as clubs adhere to the protocols they are free to do whatever is best for their club in terms of return to training," AFLCV regional manager Carol Cathcart said on Thursday.
"Our clubs have been really good at adhering to the policies all the way through and we need that to continue because what we do now will provide us with a much better chance of getting back to where we all want to be next year, which is playing football and netball again."
AFL Victoria says it's essential all clubs and individuals work within the protocols and do not move ahead of the restrictions in place.
"If these protocols cannot be achieved, training and competitions should not proceed," AFL Victoria said.
There was no senior football-netball played across the region this year with AFLCV's four senior leagues - Bendigo, Heathcote District, Loddon Valley and North Central - all cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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50 MOST DOMINANT FLAG SEASONS IN BFL, HDFL, LVFL SINCE 1990
No. 1 - Golden Square 2011
No. 2 - Bridgewater 2014
No. 3 - Bridgewater 2016
No. 4 - Calivil United 2005
No. 5 - Calivil United 2004
No. 6 - Strathfieldsaye 2015
No. 7 - Heathcote 2010
No. 8 - South Bendigo 1993
No. 10 & 9 - Golden Square 2010; Strathfieldsaye 2019
No. 12 & 11 - Castlemaine 2000; Strathfieldsaye 2014
No. 14 & 13 - Leitchville-Gunbower 2017; South Bendigo 1991
No. 16 & 15 - Colbinabbin 1999; Mount Pleasant 1995
No. 18 & 17 - YCW 1997; Bridgewater 2015
No. 20 & 19 - Mount Pleasant 1997; Mount Pleasant 1993
No. 22 & 21 - Bridgewater 2010; Bridgewater 2011
No. 24 & 23 - LBU 2011; Colbinabbin 1998
No. 26 & 25 - Gisborne 2003; LBU 2013
No. 28 & 27 - Gisborne 2002; Colbinabbin 1991
No. 30 & 29 - Maryborough 1998; Gisborne 2005
No. 32 & 31 - South Bendigo 1994; Golden Square 2009
No. 34 & 33 - Castlemaine 1992; South Bendigo 1990
No. 36 & 35 - Mitiamo 1999; Sandhurst 2016
No. 38 & 37 - North Bendigo 2019; Leitchville-Gunbower 2018
No. 40 & 39 - Bridgewater 1991; Calivil United 2017
No. 42 & 41 - Heathcote 1992, Sandhurst 2004
No. 44 & 43 - Eaglehawk 2008, Elmore 2007
No. 46 & 45 - Mount Pleasant 1990, Newbridge 2018
No. 48 & 47 - Gisborne 2006, Calivil United 1990
No. 50 & 49 - Calivil United 2003, Eaglehawk 2018