HAMPDEN Football Netball League plans to start its 2021 final series as scheduled and play as many home-and-away rounds beforehand as possible.
It comes after league officials and club presidents met via Zoom on Wednesday night to plot a route out of the latest statewide coronavirus lockdown which has thrown the season into chaos.
League president Garry Perrett said the senior competition would only resume when crowds were permitted.
Games will pick up from round 11, which was to be played before the latest restrictions came into play.
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It means the top-three clash between North Warrnambool Eagles and South Warrnambool will be showcased.
The most rounds the Saturday competition will fit in before finals start on Saturday, August 28 is four, given this weekend has already been ruled out due to lockdown rules.
But it is likely to be less - a scenario Perrett said clubs were prepared for.
"I don't like our chances (of playing next weekend), just being a realist and knowing what they (the state government) made us do last time," he told The Standard.
"They say the under 18s can start and then the next week the seniors can train, and the next week the seniors can train with no crowds. It went on and on.
"When we're allowed to start, we'll be starting back at round 11 because we finished at round 10.
"Our grand final will be our usual date which is the 18th of September and whatever we can fit in between round 11 and the start of the finals."
The first lockdown impacted the competition in late May and early June.
Crowds were not permitted when play resumed and one senior round was played without fans.
Perrett said it was not a scenario clubs were willing to repeat, given the financial hit.
"We're not prepared to play without crowds. All the presidents were pretty adamant about that," he said.
Perrett said the league did not want to play its deciders on the AFL grand final public holiday on Friday, September 24.
Some country competitions have moved their grand finals to that date.
The Sunday junior competition will also undergo changes with the top-five tweaked for the 2021 finals series.
"As far as finals go for them, we'll be cutting it back to a final four," Perrett said.
"One plays four, two plays three and then the winners play in a grand final."
Perrett said the clubs' positive approach was welcomed during a difficult time.
"Everyone was on the same page and they said 'just keep it simple' so that is what we're trying to do," he said.
The first-year president said it had been important to get a 2021 season going despite the hurdles after a year on the sidelines.
"There's never a dull moment. It's been a bit tough, stressful but we're getting through it," Perrett said.
"It is a community sport, we saw last year when it was cancelled people were down in the dumps.
"The locals just love their sport. It's beneficial for everyone's mental health and people just like to get together, catch up with their mates and there's a lot of people involved."
Warrnambool and District league plans to meet on Tuesday to discuss its options.
The lockdown is scheduled to end at midnight Tuesday, pending any extensions.
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