As the dust settles on the Mininera and District Football league's announcement to cancel the 2020 season, two clubs have been left with a huge hurdle despite being at opposite ends of the 2019 ladder.
For the reigning premiers Great Western, the cancellation will force a pause to its plan in continuing to build on its success over recent years.
On the other end of the scale, the Ararat Eagles were looking positive after a strong recruitment drive in the offseason, ready to make amends of past seasons with low numbers and an almost recession at the start of 2019.
Both teams were put into the spotlight during the 2019 season after a dominant Great Western thumped the Ararat Eagles by a history-making 509 points.
Controversy filled the region following the game with Great Western publicly needing to reject claims they sought to humiliate Ararat Eaglesand the Ararat Eagles footballers bouncing back with player numbers increasing the next Saturday.
The Lions had secured the services of coach Will Bell for 2020, with a small amount of recruiting successful to complement the existing team.
Bell said there were plenty of positive signs leading into the season with 30-40 players training even when there were tough restrictions in place.
"It's a luxury when you win a grand final the year before, players are naturally motivated to want to chase the dream again," he said.
"Players were also committed during the time of no face to face training. We used our social media channels to continue on the work we had done since training began in November."
Bell said the club was hopeful the season would go ahead but now will turn attentions on 2021.
"It's a strange time at the moment," he said.
"Resigning and recruiting has already started for us. Most clubs around the state have officially finished for the year we were trying to recontact players for next season leading up to the MDFL announcement.
"When guys know there is no football season ahead it can mean they want to get away and have a break from it all.
"We have a fair chunk of the list secured to go around next season and have had a few people looking at our club for the place to come to to play football."
Most footballers are faced with the unknown of when a return to competitive football was likely, most would assume they are now faced with a total of 18 months off.
"As an aging player myself the less you play the better your body is," Bell said.
"I can't see having a break might get some players a little more time out of their football careers.
"Not playing certainly could come at a cost though. Football and netball clubs are such a great community hub and with social isolation, at the moment there will be young players out there facing mental health struggles.
"Clubs are an outlet and a great place to catch up with their peers. Not only just for the players but for people in the community as well."
Bell said getting the players back training as soon as restrictions allowed was a key priority for Great Western for the player's mental health wellbeing.
"Some of these players have been trapped up in their homes for a number of months," he said.
"Others could have also lost their jobs. It's a tough time out there for a lot of people right now. Football and Netball clubs can certainly play a large part in ensuring everyone still feels like they are involved in the community."
Nats McRoberts said he would continue on his leadership role as club president after stepping back in at the start of 2019,
"The year was certainly looking good with lots of positive signs around the club," he said.
"Obviously with the announcement of Naish and the two Taurau brothers returning to the club really set the pace for the club.
"There was a fair bit of buzz around the club. We can't overlook the netball department as well."
In 2019 the Eagles secured an exemption from the Mininera and District Netball Association to not field and A Grade side due to lack of numbers.
"We were able to piece together a side and named a coach for A Grade which was a fantastic achievement," McRoberts said.
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"We were still finding our feet with our junior teams and as a club, we understood how important it was to get juniors involved.
"Although we weren't quite there yet, all of our other achievements are quite outstanding in what we could achieve from the position we were in."
McRoberts said there were some tough times during the unknown period of the future of the 2020 season with restrictions in place not only for the players but for the ability of committees and executives to meet.
"All our correspondence has been through messaging and some phone calls," he said.
"We have put some of the responsibility onto the leadership group to make sure the lines of communication are flowing through and open at a player level.
"It's been a challenge for everyone but I'm pretty proud of how everyone has adapted and grown through this period.
"The leaders have been outstanding to date. What they can't put into words they've put into action."
McRoberts said the committee's role will now be to contact all of the sponsors who jump on board to support them.
"We smashed it out of the park early in terms of sponsors," he said.
"We've got a fair few people on board and now we'll be working through each of those people to find out their position due to the coronavirus and let them know the official decision on the season."