Alexander ScottPilbara News
Port Hedland Rovers shocked the reigning premiers Karratha Kats to claim the win.
Camera IconPort Hedland Rovers shocked the reigning premiers Karratha Kats to claim the win. Credit: Alexander Scott

Footy could soon return after clubs have been given a 10-point return to training guideline, with the North Pilbara Football League hoping for a late-June, early-July bouncedown.

It is hoped that the season will run for 10 weeks, with a two-week final series.

The competition was scheduled to start on April 24 but had to be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NPFL hosted a meeting between clubs and the Western Australian Football Commission last Wednesday to determine when the league could restart and to give an update to training protocols.

NPFL president Greg Braithewaite said no start date had been confirmed and the final start date for a full season was July 4.

“If we can’t start by July 4, we will have to reassess whether we start at all,” he said.

“We’re hopeful, you lose players for next year if you don’t get people playing this year, that’s one of the reasons we want to get going.”

Braithewaite said the league did not know when crowds would be allowed to attend.

“That may be a limiting factor whether we can play or not, clubs still need to generate income which they get from the bars around the place,” he said.

“We still have to pay umpires, ground fees and insurances.”

Clubs were permitted to train in groups of 20 after the State Government lifted restrictions on May 18, with the WAFC putting forward a return-to-training guide for clubs.

Under the 10-point plan, the 20-person groups cannot mix, and groups need to stay the same for each training session and no physical contact, including marking contests and tackling, can occur.

Other guidelines include hand sanitiser being used before and after training and footballs to be cleaned before and after use by someone in each group.

Karratha Falcons president Beau Corps said being able to train in groups made a big difference. “Just to be able to get people back together, maintain interest in footy and learn our new systems and structures with the new coaching team,” he said. “You can’t do the more physical fitness training but any training in a group gives you more intensity.”

Corps said the restrictions meant there was a focus on longer drills and conditioning.

“It’s been a long time away for the players, overall,” he said. “They’re just happy to be back running around.

“Physically and mentally, it’s great for them.”

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails