EAST Warrnambool's plan to snap a two-year recess and return to Warrnambool and District league's playing ranks is in action.
The Reid Oval-based club voted to enter a short-term hiatus in 2019, ending a 95-year presence on south-west sporting fields.
The club, which has long denied the recess was a death knell, was keen to fundraise throughout 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic derailed its plans.
Treasurer Julie Scoble said the club was "a little behind the eight ball" given coronavirus-enforced restrictions but was determined to forge on in 2021.
"We're now starting to get a few people around again to have some interim discussions about how we move forward," she told The Standard.
"We've still got plans in place and we're keen to action those plans. We're probably hoping to have things settled mid-year.
We've still got plans in place and we're keen to action those plans. We're probably hoping to have things settled mid-year.Julie Scoble
"There's a lot of things going on behind the scenes. We're probably eight months behind where we'd like to be financially but I think we're lucky we made the decision (to enter a recess) when we did without having to pay out a coach or players."
Scoble said East Warrnambool had a tender to provide catering for the Warrnambool and District league finals and several other fundraising initiatives.
"We had a lot of plans for (2020) and there's still a a really strong committee pushing it forward," she said.
"We'll see it all plays out this year and if the season does go ahead. I'm hoping it does."
Player retention, particularly in reserve grades, is looming as a challenge for clubs across the state in 2021. Scoble said getting players to return was a challenge facing her club and others across the south-west.
"If you get a few players not coming back (after coronavirus restrictions) it's hard," she said.
"There's always going to be strong clubs who are OK but we're hearing others are finding it hard with juniors and reserves.
"Some young people might have started working or doing other things with their mates. It's a big task if you've lost a few."
She said the club would keenly observe the district league and football climate in 2021 after COVID-19 forced all south-west leagues to cancel their 2020 campaigns but was optimistic for the future.
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