To kick off a series of articles from around the world that look at footy life in COVID-19 times, this story looks at some aspects of footy life in Far North Queensland. It is hoped this story may trigger more stories from people, clubs and leagues across the world as they negotiate events unthought-of at the end of their last seasons.
On my way home from work last week I dropped by the home ground of my former club, Gordonvale's Power Park. It is the home of the Pyramid Power club, set in canefields and overlooked by the mighty Walsh’s Pyramid. It is, in a word, beautiful.
It was around five o’clock – a time when junior footy training would be under way in the first week of April, preparing for the first matches for the new season.
Today, however, the ground was devoid of kids. Only teams of plovers graced the playing surface. Seeming to enjoy themselves, it wasn’t clear who was winning. Perhaps, for them it wasn’t about that – it was about fun.
The AFLW season has been cancelled and AFL season has been postponed to May 31st, due to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the world.
And we all knew that the axe that has fell on sport globally was eventually going to fall on the AFLW and AFL.
It's disappointing that the AFLW season has come to an abrupt end, after such an exciting finals series and enthralling home and away season, but this coronavirus is bigger than sport and through these trying times globally we have to accept that there are more important things than sport right now.
The first week of the AFLW finals certainly delivered with four cracking matches and who would have thought they would be the last women's football matches in 2020.
The AFL today announced that it would immediately move to suspend the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season at the conclusion of this weekend's matches and conclude the NAB AFL Women's season as a result of the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Today's match between West Coast Eagles and Melbourne will be the final match before the AFL season goes into a temporary halt with the suspension of all games until May 31, 2020.
The AFL will review the situation by the end of April to determine whether a further suspension period would be required.
Today's AFLW semi-final between Carlton and Brisbane Lions will be the last NAB AFL Women's match to be played with the 2020 season ending today. Given the twin conference structure and that the finals series was not completed, the AFL Commission has determined no premiership will be awarded for this season, following a recommendation from the AFL Executive.
What a strange round of women's footy, round 6 was.
It was a round like no other and something we would likely never experience again in the AFLW, due to the Coronavirus pandemic currently taking over the world.
The round started with Geelong and North Melbourne being the last match to play in front of a crowd with the remaining six matches played with no crowds.
Also, Richmond recorded the lowest ever AFLW score of 0.3 (3), whereas the result from the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle match of 10.6 (66) to 8.3 (51) set the highest aggregate score record between two AFLW teams.
After an enthralling 2019/20 season, the NTFL has crowned the Nightcliff Tigers premiers after they outlasted St Mary’s at TIO Stadium. The premiership win makes it back-to-back titles for the Tigers in a season that they dominated with just two defeats across the journey.
One of those defeats was two weeks ago when they lost their second semi-final to St Mary’s in a shock loss. Nightcliff then had to negotiate a dangerous Southern Districts Crocs in last weekend’s Preliminary Final, which they did to set up a rematch with Saints.
It is the club’s fifth flag and their second since breaking a 54-year drought to win last year’s title. Since taking the wooden spoon back in 2010/11, the Tigers have rebuilt wisely to now be the benchmark for the NTFL competition.
A hot second half from Carlton steered them to a 16-point victory over Melbourne in a must win Conference B clash at TIO Traeger Oval on Saturday night.
It was only the Dees second loss of the season.
The Dees only led in the first and second quarters, as in the second half the Blues were simply outstanding keeping the Dees to three behinds and kicking four unanswered goals in the second half to notch up the win 6.4 (40) to 3.6 (24).
It was the Blues fourth consecutive win, as they defeated Western Bulldogs, Adelaide Crows and St Kilda and are sitting second in Conference B equal with the ladder leaders, Fremantle.
With two rounds left till finals, the Blues are well in contention for finals.
What a great spectacle of women's footy, round 5 was.
It started with Geelong winning their second match in a row, North Melbourne signalling to the rest of the competition that they are the team to beat with their thumping defeat of the reigning premiers, but there were also massive wins from other teams contending for finals including Carlton, GWS Giants, Collingwood and Melbourne.
Also, it was an exciting end to the round with the Lions taking it right up to the unbeaten Dockers.
With the finals near, expect the three remaining rounds to be played at a higher intensity as the season ramps up with a number of teams still in contention for finals spots.
Today's AFLW 4.0 feature is on Fremantle Dockers women's player Kate Flood.
Dockers are the only undefeated team in the competition and sit atop of the Conference B ladder.
Flood was signed as a 2019 rookie signing by the Dockers.
"It was sort of a dream moment that you don't really get, to say it was a dream of mine growing up would be a lie I suppose, but it was just absolutely amazing and an opportunity I guess I couldn't really turn it down," she said.
Flood is just so blessed and grateful that she gets to play in the AFLW.