The Goulburn Swans have put out the call for players as their 2020 season prospects remain in limbo.
After an extended delay to the start of the season due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Swans have been back training for several weeks ahead of the new starting date: July 18.
However, as is the case for many local sporting club, numbers have dropped at pre-season training sessions, despite the overall positive atmosphere.
"We've got a few new fellas at training, which is great," club president Dane Stevenson said.
"New blokes to the game and to the club. We're limited in what we can do due to the guidelines, but the positivity that comes with playing footy is good.
"We've got about 14 or 15 players who are definitely committing to the season, but there's always the opportunity for people of other codes to come and join in.
"If people from league or union or soccer are interested, they're welcome to come down and have a training run."
The Swans' training is currently limited to handballing and kicking drills, as there are still strict coronavirus regulations on most sports until July 1.
"Obviously we're not able to teach them the intricacies of tackling and stoppage play right now, but hopefully that'll come with time," he said.
What will happen after that date, Stevenson does not know. Though the club communicates regularly with AFL Canberra, a draw has not yet been finalised and there are not yet any updated health guidelines.
This confusion, Stevenson hopes, will dissipate once July begins.
"In July there'll be a new set of guidelines, but nobody knows what that looks like," he said.
"Being the president, I'm trying to relay the information to the playing group and our members and the public."
This uncertainty is exacerbated for the club by its low numbers, but Stevenson said the Swans will not field a team if it will only weaken the club.
"Obviously the hope is we can get enough to play, but people have other interests and the circumstances in the last few months, other things have taken priority, understandably so," he said.
"We have to look at the at the situation fiscally and make sure we don't leave the club in a worse place than the start of the year if we do play.
"We have a rich history with the Hawks [the club's name until 1998] and the Swans. We had a couple of years there with no AFL [1998-2003] and now we're back, and it's my responsibility to make sure the club maintains its existence.
"With 10 weeks of footy, if the club can't maintain viability it'd be silly of me to put us in that position."
Should the worst happen and the committee decide to pull the plug on the 2020 season, Stevenson said they will instead focus on building towards 2021.
"I'm optimistic but I'm also realistic. The existence of our club is vitally important and we understand as a club and committee the effect it has on players and our sponsors," he said.
"We'd love to play, but if we don't that's unfortunately reflective of the unprecedented situation with COVID.
"It might be one of those years that's a write off, and we get a few months to build the club for next season."
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