Bounce-down is just around the corner, with the North Pilbara Football League announcing the start date of this year’s season. Initially scheduled to start in April, the season will begin on July 3 after it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The season is still scheduled for 10 rounds, with teams playing each other twice before the start of finals. Training in groups of 20 restarted on May 18, and from June 6, clubs were allowed to have full-contact training of up to 100 people. Karratha Kats coach John Wellington said it was exciting to have a start date for the league. “It’s great not only for the community but also for the mental health of the players who have been locked up for a bit,” he said. Wellington said the delayed start would not have too much of an impact on the players’ fitness. “You’re always going to have your 10 or 12 that keep themselves fit, and there are a few that probably blew out a bit,” he said. “If they get on the track for the next three weeks, then I’m sure we will hit the ground running in round one.” Kats player Ben Main said knowing the start date had caused a lift in intensity at training. “We’re absolutely rapt to go to training now knowing the season will take place — there is a bit more purpose,” he said. “A lot more blokes are coming down now, there’s a better environment, and everyone’s ready to go.” Mayne said the hardest aspect of preparation was getting players down consistently. “There might be a few blokes underdone but we’ve got three weeks, and we’ve been training for a couple now, so it should be good enough,” he said. Karratha Kats president Shane Harris said the most significant hurdle to getting the season started was the COVID-19 restrictions. “The league had to work out if we could go ahead with it,” he said. “With the 100/300 rule we feel like we can get a season out of it as long as we maintain the COVID-19 conditions that are applied.” Harris said being allowed to open the bar and have a canteen would help the club financially.