Footy crowd boost

Sunbury Lions captain Andrew Duhau. Picture Shawn Smits 231818_01

By Oliver Lees

Local footy will be back in business for round one with up to 5000 spectators allowed at games following changes to crowd restrictions.

The state government announced changes to its COVID-19 Public Events Framework last week, lifting crowd capacity at local grounds from 1000 people to 5000 before clubs need to secure approval from the government’s public health team.

Football clubs will be solely responsible for making sure their matches adhere to the government’s COVID-safe requirements.

Ballarat Football & Netball Inc operations manager Shane Anwyl said this exactly what local football needs in the lead up to round one.

“There’s a lot of blockbuster matches in the first three rounds and this takes away the red tape for clubs, because before there was quite an onerous process in regards to guidelines,” he said.

“Having 1000 people wasn’t really a reality for a lot of clubs, so these new guidelines seems like a much more commonsense approach.”

Round one of the Ballarat Football League kicks off on Saturday, April 17, with Darley Football Club hosting the Sunbury Lions at Darley Park.

Sunbury Football Club president Hedley Duhau has welcomed the Victorian government’s announcement and is glad locals will be able to enjoy the footy.

“With everyone missing out on football last year it’s going to be great, not just for the players and the members, but for the whole community as well,” Mr Duhau said.

Round one will also see old rivals Melton Football Club and Melton South Football Club lock horns at MacPherson Park, where the home side has just completed developing new club rooms.

Melton Football Club president Brian ‘Nabby’ McNabb said the club was looking forward to things returning to a sense of normality.

“We’re all very excited,” he said.

“We’re also especially grateful for the support from our local council getting our new facilities up and running.”

The Sunbury Lions will host Melton Football Club for their first home game of the season in round two.

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