Our top footballers should just play netball this year instead.
Pack away the football boots, forget about trying to juggle how to fit in a season with or without finals before cricket is back, and run out on the court instead. Banners optional.
The idea was put to this columnist from a well-respected sporting figure amid all the frustration and 'will-they, won't-they' play questions still hovering over our football-netball clubs.
This is an idea worth entertaining. Seriously.
Football-netball clubs across the region are understandably divided on whether a season would be worthwhile, in any form, given the increasingly diminishing days in the regular season time-frames and the uncertainty the plagues us all in pandemic restrictions.
Netball does stand a better chance on getting back on court in a meaningful competition and this is why footballers should join in with a male competition.
This is not to diminish the economic risks on clubs, nor the strains on volunteers to bring back community sports within tight health parametres.
But this is an historic, strange year. Everyone has been thinking outside the box, from businesses to community organisations, both in social engagement and to stay afloat.
Should out football leagues pull the pin - and we will not really know until later this month - it will be the first time Ballarat Football League has been missing for anything other than periods in World Wars I and II. Netball was not part of the club back then.
The most obvious alternative would be a lightning premiership-style weekend, or a couple of consecutive weekends if you really wanted. Focus on one to two teams per men's and women's divisions and let club colours fly when restrictions are eased enough for some spectators cheering.
Test players' agility, strength and team work.
Interestingly AFL Barwon has flagged potential to split the netball arms from football clubs this season in a bid to get more players back in the game and sooner.
Central Highlands Netball League, which has administration run separately alongside Central Highlands Football League, has made clear officials were not considering such a division.
CHNL president Natalie Clark told The Courier netballers have the option to play in teams with Wendouree or Ballarat netball associations when play resumes. Many already do this during the football-netball season too.
The Courier understands the region's basketball clubs are bracing for a large intake of footballers swapping to their game, once running, should football fall flat this winter.
Competitive male netball might not be every footballers' cup of tea. But this is bold, this is club focused and this is a year to learn and appreciate new things.
We want football back but not just for the sake of it.
Resumption in football and netball training has been an important step in a return to normality.
We know without crowds, without canteen sales, competition becomes less feasible and markedly less fun.
Have a think what could be possible.
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