Newlyn president Jon Rofe says his club fully stands by its decision to withdraw from the Central Highlands Football League season despite tests revealing no positive cases of COVID-19 inside its walls.
There were major scares at the club when two youngsters were linked to a confirmed case of coronavirus, but results have since come back negative for the disease.
Rofe said the club had no regrets about making an early call to end its involvement in the 2020 campaign.
"We are really happy with the decision that we have made and we know many players will be disappointed, but they are understanding of the broader decision," Rofe told The Courier on Monday.
"We made the decision in the best interests of our players, our volunteers and our families.
"We are really respectful of the decisions of the league and also other clubs."
Newlyn had been fielding under-18, under-15 and under-12 sides this season before the decision to withdraw.
The Cats' under-18 team had been unbeaten heading into last Saturday's third round following wins over Carngham-Linton and Rokewood-Corindhap. The under-15s had a bye in round one and then lost to the Grasshoppers, while the under-12s also had a bye but beat Rokewood-Corindhap a week later.
Late last week in a statement on Newlyn's Facebook page, Rofe said the club had made the decision "following discussion with our junior coordinators/coaches and our committee given the increasing reach of COVID-19 into regional Victoria and our local communities".
"Our club has again demonstrated that we are so well supported by a strong and capable group of volunteers by the way everyone worked through the AFL Victoria Return to Play protocols that enabled us to get our season underway," he wrote.
"All coaches/officials undertook the COVID training, and teams also implemented the required registration and cleaning processes at both training and on game days."
Last week, Newlyn was joined by Daylesford in pulling out of the 2020 competition, which left just 10 clubs in the league this year.
Central Highlands Football League manager Diane Ryan was busy on Monday contacting clubs to gather their interest for the remainder of the season.
It's unclear what course the board of management will take, but it could formulate a new fixture for the rest of the season if there remains enough committed clubs.
The season is set to run through until September 19.