A decision has been made on the fate of round five of the Mininera and District Football League after two games were forced to be cancelled due to COVID-19.
Woorndoo Mortlake were forced to cancel their games against Tatyoon on Wednesday May 18 due to an outbreak and Hawkesdale Macarthur followed suit cancelling their trip to Ararat on Friday May 20 to face the red-hot Eagles.
Mininera and District Football League president Dale Bruns said the league had decided to "soldier on" with round five despite the growing COVID-19 cluster in the league.
"Coming from a club perspective with catering and cancelling at short notice it was paramount to play on," Mr Bruns said.
"If we set a precedent now of abandoning after only two clubs can't play I feel we will run into trouble in the later rounds of the season if COVID-19 continues to hang around.
"The biggest issue at the moment is there is so much (COVID-19) in our communities, it is going to be a hard one to dodge."
Mr Bruns explained the MDFL and MDNL would be meeting imminently to devise a plan in case the leagues face further cancellations throughout the season.
"If there is a situation where more clubs in one round are affected then we may abandon the round, although that is still to be determined," he said.
"We just need clubs to adhere to MDNA and MDFL bylaws and AFL Victoria bylaws and ultimately it is state health regulations as well, unfortunately it is going to continue to affect our game."
Mr Bruns said the league was thankful the clubs came to the sensible decision to cancel their matches to help eliminate the spread of the virus.
"A big appreciation to Woorndoo-Mortlake who made the heartbreaking disappointing decision on Wednesday to pull out and Hawkesdale- Macarthur have obviously had some more recent cases and have made the same decision," he said.
"Player, volunteer and supporter safety is paramount and we are relying on the clubs in our league to be honest and if they are suffering a COVID-19 outbreak then they need to be honest and fess up.
"Timeliness is great obviously with clubs hosting other clubs and putting a lot of time and effort into catering so the earlier the better, unfortunately COVID-19 doesn't pick and choose."
The Hawkesdale-Macarthur Football Netball Club Facebook page explained that due to the number of cases which have arisen the "tough decision" has been made to cancel all matches against Ararat.
"Due to the number of COVID cases that have arisen since last night at our club, the tough decision has been made to cancel all matches that were intended to be played at Ararat," the Facebook post reads.
The two infected clubs; Woorndoo-Mortlake and Hawkesdale-Macarthur faced off in round four of the MDFL with the Tigers coming out 181-32 winners.
Ararat Eagles president Nats McRoberts said "it is what it is" after hearing the news of the cancellation.
"We had to consider this would happen with everything that has gone on," he said.
"At the moment there is a lot of running around in regards to communicating with people at the club to make sure we are all aware of what is going on.
"We have got suppliers, umpires and everything that was affiliated with Saturday we now have to can with less than 24 hours notice."
Despite no matches being played Mr McRoberts said a social gathering may still be on the cards for the Eagles community on Saturday May 21.
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