LIKE many people The Standard's journalists are grateful sport is up and running again in some capacity.
Our reporters Brian Allen, Justine McCullagh-Beasy and Nick Ansell are eager to talk sport via The Commentary Box.
BRIAN: It's certainly been a big week in junior football and netball given the postponement of some Hampden junior football and netball matches on Saturday. Now Nirranda has pulled out of the Warrnambool and District league juniors for 2020 due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. WDFNL president Kylie Murphy said Tuesday some clubs were still on the fence about whether to let their teams play. Do you reckon we'll see other clubs besides Nirranda pull the pin before the August 1 start date?
JUSTINE: Perhaps as each club might view the situation differently. I, for one, applaud both the Hampden and Warrnambool and District leagues for putting the time and effort into getting junior competitions up and running. It's not going to be smooth sailing and there are likely to be interruptions but it's important young people have something to look forward to during this unusual time. The safety measures are in place and, if something does pop up regarding coronavirus concerns, games can be cancelled, as was the case in the Hampden league on Saturday.
NICK: I think circumstances are different for each club as you said. Nirranda, for example, is a community hub. There's not much else out that way other than dairy farms and the footy club, so there's a responsibility on the footy-netball club to look after its people. Warrnambool-based clubs, on the other hand, are probably in a different boat as they're a part of a wider, bigger community whereby the onus is spread across several organisations and workplaces to do the right thing. I reckon there's a chance we might see more clubs pull out. If coronavirus has taught us anything, it's that things can move rapidly and look completely different in a short space of time. People involved at clubs are doing a brilliant job, now it's up to spectators to do the right thing and keep their distance and practise good hand hygiene.
BRIAN: Another significant update this week is the state's five regional teams will return to NAB League action. The Rebels' boys will be back on the park by August 22. The girls will resume on September 5. But Nick, only those 18 and under can play? What do you make of that?
NICK: That's very true. Really exciting news for the players who are plying their trade at NAB League level. It's unfortunate but with the way Victorian government restrictions are, it was the only option. It's sad for the overage players but the positive is we'll see some form of footy for people who are trying to make a mark at AFL level.
JUSTINE: It's unfortunate for those players. Liam Herbert (South Warrnambool) and Josh Dwyer (Port Fairy) went from having three options - Geelong in the VFL, Hampden seniors and juniors and GWV Rebels in the NAB League to none. Warrnambool's Mitch Burgess was in the same boat and can now play some NAB League games before he turns 19 in September. Terang Mortlake's Isaac Wareham, who had also signed with Geelong, is still eligible for the Rebels despite technically being an overage player as he doesn't turn 19 until December. The mini NAB League season is a chance for Isaac to show AFL recruiters he's worth a punt as he was on the draft radar last year. On a different topic, one of my favourite athletes retired this week. Injury has forced six-time Perth Wildcats basketballer Damian Martin to retire from the NBL. Fittingly, the league has re-named the best defensive player trophy after him. He leaves a big hole in Trevor Gleeson's roster for next season. Who are some of your favourite players you've been sad to see retire?
BRIAN: Definitely Richmond great Matthew Richardson. The Tiges weren't much good for most of Richo's career but he brought something special to the game. The athletic prowess, the emotion, the miracle major and the shanked kick at goal from 15 metres out. I saw him kick 10 goals at the MCG against the Bulldogs one day. Chris Judd was also one I was sad to see finish up due to injuries. He was consistently one of the best players in the league throughout his career. Skillful, tough and stood up when it mattered most in games.
JUSTINE: Richo Man certainly made Tiger fans ride the emotional roller-coaster with him. Matthew Pavlich's retirement was sad for me as he was the face of Fremantle and my all-time favourite Docker. It was fitting he kicked his 700th goal in his final game - a nice win over the Dogs in 2016.
NICK: Pav was a sad one as he had such a good career and was so good to watch. For me, when North made the call to delist Brent Harvey alongside Nick Dal Santo, Michael Firrito and Drew Petrie, it cut pretty deep. Boomer mainly as he was a model professional and so good to watch in an era when North didn't have a lot of superstars. So clean with the ball and electric. It'll be a sad day when Marc Leishman retires from the PGA Tour. Good thing about golf is that you can play well into old age, even professionally with the Champions Tour.