THE Bendigo Football-Netball League is heading into a second weekend in a row without competition as Victoria's latest lockdown continues to keep community sport closed.
And with it comes the prospect now of the BFNL being unable to achieve one of its primary season ambitions - complete a full 18 home and away rounds, plus four weeks of finals.
To stick with its already re-scheduled grand final date of Friday, September 24 - the day before the AFL grand final - the BFNL is now two weeks behind its deadlines with no more wriggle room for available spare weekends, and as such, is facing the likelihood of an an uneven home and away season whereby not all teams play each other twice.
But given an entire season last year had to be abandoned because of COVID, the fact the league has been able to make a return this year and clubs re-engage is a massive positive that far outweighs the negative of a fixture that may fall short of its 18-round aim.
Still, there are premierships up for grabs and finals berths to be jostled for in all grades of football and netball.
With that in mind, here's how Victorian lockdown 5.0 has impacted on each of the club's senior football and A Grade netball teams so far in terms of who they would have played last week and this week had the season continued as planned:
WOULD HAVE PLAYED:
Last weekend - vs Kyneton at Kyneton.
This weekend - vs Gisborne at Castlemaine.
FOOTBALL (10th, 0-11) - missed out on one of their big rivalry games last week against country foes Kyneton. The Magpies would have headed to Kyneton with some optimism of a breakthrough win given their competitive effort against the Tigers in round four when they led late in the third quarter before going down by 30 points. This weekend, though, against Gisborne at home very much had the makings of a tough day at the office.
NETBALL - no A Grade team.
Last weekend - vs Maryborough at Eaglehawk.
This weekend - vs Kyneton at Eaglehawk.
FOOTBALL (6th, 6-5) - the Hawks are a clear major loser out of the lockdown pause. Under the pump as is sitting two games adrift of the top five, the Hawks had a pair of home games against lower-placed Maryborough last week and Kyneton this week that they should not only have collected eight points from, but vital match-day revenue also.
NETBALL 5th (4-5) - have a two-game buffer inside the top five and, like the senior football team, also would have started favourites in both matches against the lower-placed Tigers and Magpies. Unlike the senior footballers though, the prospect of a reduced home and away season works in their finals favour.
Last weekend - vs South Bendigo at Gisborne.
This weekend - vs Castlemaine at Castlemaine.
FOOTBALL (4th, 8-3) - no doubt the Bulldogs would have been bitterly disappointed at missing out on a return crack against South Bendigo last week given their disappointing showing against the Bloods at the QEO in round four. Would have expected Gisborne to turn the tables on the Bloods at home and then back up with a comfortable win over Castlemaine this week.
NETBALL (3rd, 7-2-1) - would have had this week off any way given they had the bye with Castlemaine having no A Grade team. By missing the South Bendigo game last week, remain only half-a-game clear of the Bloods in third spot, so that was a lost opportunity to create some potential double chance breathing space.
Last weekend - vs Strathfieldsaye at Strathfieldsaye.
This weekend - vs Maryborough at Golden Square.
FOOTBALL 3rd (9-2) - the league was denied one of its marquee match-ups last week with the Bulldogs' keenly-anticipated game against Strathfieldsaye at Tannery Lane aborted. The Bulldogs are in good form having won seven in a row, but given Strathfieldsaye is 72-5 at home since 2012, absolutely would have had their work cut out for them. Would have expected a comfortable win at home over Maryborough this week.
NETBALL 8th (2-8) - would have been a chance to double their tally of two wins that goes begging against the Storm (7th) and Magpies (9th).
Last weekend - vs Sandhurst at QEO.
This weekend - vs Strathfieldsaye at Kangaroo Flat.
FOOTBALL (8th, 2-9) - would have been an extremely challenging fortnight for the Roos with consecutive games against the top two teams in the Dragons and Storm, who they lost to by triple figures in their first encounters earlier this year. Pity the young Roos missed out on the opportunity of a crack on the QEO last week as part of their development.
NETBALL 1st (9-0-1) - the league was robbed of one of its showpiece games last weekend when the unbeaten Roos would have taken on the second-placed Dragons at the QEO. Would have been a cracker, but only further whets the appetite for what could come - fingers crossed - later in the year. Would have expected the Roos to be far too strong for Strathfieldsaye this week.
Last weekend - vs Castlemaine at Kyneton.
This weekend - vs Eaglehawk at Eaglehawk.
FOOTBALL (7th, 3-8) - can't help but feel the Tigers are stiff. Cop five-consecutive top five teams for five defeats and then missed the chance last week to play the battling Castlemaine at home. Would have been a tough test this week at Canterbury Park to play an opponent they have beaten just four times in their past 43 meetings.
NETBALL (6th, 3-5) - sitting sixth and would have banked four points from the bye last week and then had a crunch game this week against Eaglehawk - the team whose spot in the top five the Tigers are hunting.
Last weekend - vs Eaglehawk at Eaglehawk.
This weekend - vs Golden Square Golden Square.
FOOTBALL 9th (1-10) - would have been a pair of back-to-back tough away trips to Canterbury Park and Wade Street for the Magpies, whose struggles with player numbers this year have been well documented.
NETBALL (9th, 1-9) - like the senior football team, only one win for the A Grade netball side, but they would have had a decent shot at notching a second victory this week against Golden Square. The Magpies beat Square 46-32 in round five.
Last weekend - vs Kangaroo Flat at QEO.
This weekend - vs South Bendigo at QEO.
FOOTBALL (2nd, 9-2) - having lost to Golden Square by 36 points in their last outing, would have expected a bounce-back win from the Dragons against Kangaroo Flat last week, before this week's clash with traditional rival South Bendigo shaped as a 50-50 contest.
NETBALL (2nd, 9-1) - as mentioned earlier, pity the Dragons' clash with Kangaroo Flat last week fell during lockdown. On their home court at the QEO it would have been a chance for the three-time defending premier Dragons to take hold of top spot had they won.
Last weekend - vs Gisborne at Gisborne.
This weekend - vs Sandhurst at QEO.
FOOTBALL (5th, 8-3) - given the atrocious conditions last Saturday presented, doubt there would have been many Bloods' supporters lamenting not having to head down to Gisborne. Would have been a pivotal match in the scope of the season given the winner would have remained only one game off top spot, while the loser would most likely have only been one game clear of sixth-placed Eaglehawk.
NETBALL (4th, 6-3) - a pair of huge tests in consecutive weeks for the fourth-placed Bloods against two of the three teams above them in Gisborne (3rd) last week and Sandhurst (2nd) this week. Would have been a great opportunity to track their development given their losses to both sides earlier in the year.
Last weekend - vs Golden Square at Strathfieldsaye.
This weekend - vs Kangaroo Flat at Kangaroo Flat.
FOOTBALL (1st, 9-2) - sitting on top of the ladder, would have been gunning for 10 wins in a row against Golden Square last week in what had the makings of a belter of a clash between two sides in red-hot form, both with 9-2 records and vieing for the minor premiership. Should have been far too strong for Kangaroo Flat at Dower Park this week.
NETBALL (7th, 2-8) - would have been a big opportunity for win No.3 against Golden Square last week before what would have been a challenging afternoon against the unbeaten Roos this week.
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