VICTORIAN draft prospects in country regions will still have the chance to impress this year after the AFL confirmed its plans to go ahead with half of the NAB League competition.
The NAB League had been due for a state-wide return on August 22 until metropolitan Melbourne was placed in stage three lockdowns due to the second wave of COVID-19 cases.
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However as AFL.com.au reported earlier this month, the AFL remained keen to get as many games as possible into draft prospects before the end of the year and will press ahead with the country side of the competition.
On Tuesday the League informed clubs, players and parents that the games would proceed as scheduled on Saturday, August 22 for the five regions not affected by the lockdowns.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels will host Geelong Falcons at Mars Stadium followed by the Bendigo Pioneers hosting Murray Bushrangers in Bendigo. Gippsland Power will play an intra-club game in round one before the rest of the fixture is confirmed.
Dandenong Stingrays are part of the Vic Country conference in the NAB League but will not take part in games due to the restrictions being in place in Melbourne until at least Wednesday, August 19.
All six Victorian metropolitan teams – Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons and Western Jets – will also not start training or playing an revised fixtures until restrictions are eased.
Regional players who undertake schooling or board in Melbourne will be unable to play for their country NAB League sides as per advice from the Victorian state government.
The NAB League girls season will recommence on Saturday, September 5 with three more matches for each side to complete a six-game season after three rounds at the start of the year were staged before the season shutdown.