Bacchus Marsh football and netball players are upset that the Ballarat season has been called off – and the Cobras president has criticized the lack of communication between the AFL and grassroots footy.

Mark Farrell said in the end, the BFL needed at least eight of the 11 senior footy clubs to make a ‘firm commitment’ to season 2020 – and without the numbers, it was called off late Thursday.

“It’s not a surprise,” he said.

“The club was happy to hang in there until a third party like the State Government or the AFL was going to tell the Cobras they couldn’t play.

“Our understanding is that the chance of getting COVID19 outdoors was slim, but we have a couple of metro clubs in the BFL and it would take just one player to get COVID19 for the whole thing to get called off.”

Mr Farrell said at the start of the week, the BFL was looking at a possible 10-round season.

Darley was the first club to pull out on Wednesday.

“The AFL has been pathetic” – cobras president Mark farrell

The Cobras president was also angry about a lack of information from the highest levels of the sport, saying local clubs felt like they were often the last to know.

“The AFL has been pathetic,” he said.

“They have turned their back on local football keeping the Ballarat footy league in the dark and not giving up-to-date info.

“The BFL was ringing me as president two or three times a week, telling us they were still waiting on information from higher up.

“I’m sick of the AFL putting their media releases out to the general public without letting grassroots footy know.”

Mr Farrell said one Sunday he had 50 calls from confused players who believed that they could train together because AFL teams could.

“I’m sick of this,” he said.

“We didn’t get the official word on training til Thursday in the end – because Maddingley Park is Moorabool Council property and we needed Council permission first.”

“If anyone wants to sink the boots into BFL, they’re kidding themselves. The BFL have been brilliant but they really were left in the dark.

“The AFL and Victorian Government just left grassroots footy hanging there.

“There is a big difference between being positive and giving people false hope.

“Maybe the State Government should have just said from the start that all footy was off for 2020.”

However the president was full of praise for players, coaches and Cobras admin:

“Our club kept training, even when there was no light at the end of the tunnel

“We started of training in groups of 10, then pairs, then back to 10s, 20s and later 10s again.

“Our numbers were really strong.

“We had 45 guys turn up for the latest training session but we couldn’t legally have them all in the same space, so some of them went off to do some running.

“Our coach (former Essendon-listed player) Tom German has been tremendous this year.

“He’s been professional, positive and the players have responded to him positively as well

“On top of that we’ve also seen excellent work from support staff Brent Thomas, Wayne Freeman, club captain Jake Owen and Vice President Pat Mullen. Treasurer Steve Hicks has also put the club in a strong financial position.”

“These blokes have been volunteering for 8 months.”

AFL Goldfields called off the womens competition on Tuesday. Image: Bacchus Marsh Cobras FB

## Female football across the AFL Goldfields region was also called off on Tuesday.

“The girls are disappointed,” Mr Farrell said.

“We have a great women’s team and their charismatic coach Ben Hicks has been brilliant.

“I think they’re looking forward to coming back stronger next year.”

## At this stage junior football is yet to commence for the Cobras, but the BFL announced this morning (Friday) that it would go ahead.

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Gabrielle Hodson
Author: Gabrielle Hodson

Online, radio, TV and print journalist since 1993. BA (Hum) majoring in journalism Deakin University. Follow us on Twitter - I'd love to hear your news tips 🙂 Email -- OR send us a message via Facebook --