The last few days have provided a significant challenge for every Australian and it has been no different for the AFL industry as we try to navigate our way through an extremely complex and ever-evolving issue.
There has certainly been a collaborative approach from all clubs and the AFL as we have worked towards the best possible outcome, given the unprecedented circumstances.
Our great, indigenous game has been around for 160 years and while it has probably never faced a challenge of this magnitude, generally it has proven resilient and found a way through tumultuous times.
After much discussion and contemplation, the AFL is going ahead and playing the first round of the season this weekend. For the West Coast Eagles, that will be against Melbourne on Sunday. Unfortunately, our AFLW team’s season is at an end with the competition moving straight into a finals series.
While our players and our club look forward to that opportunity – having worked an entire summer for this moment – it will not quite be the same.
It will be surreal seeing our club take on the Demons at an empty Optus Stadium, but obviously in the interests of public health during this COVID-19 VIRUS pandemic those are the cards we have been dealt.
While seeing games live is out of bounds for now, we have also been working to increase accessibility through club digital platforms.
On Monday, the AFL outlined plans for a reduced season of 17 rounds, whereby each team will play each other once. The rationale for this proposal is to allow flexibility in the scheduling of matches throughout the year if made necessary by changing circumstances in relation to the COVID-19 virus and its impacts.
The AFL, together with all clubs, is committed to completing a season in 2020, in a form that provides the best possible outcomes for clubs and our members and fans.
There are still many decisions to be made about the 2020 season, and it is taking some time to make sure that they are the right decisions, based on what is known right now.
Irrespective of what is happening in the West Coast Eagles’ sphere, we’re also aware of the impact of the current situation on our larger football community. The WAFL competition, the Perth Football League, the WA Country
Football League and all associated junior competitions have been suspended until at least May 31.
Beyond football, we know that many of our members and supporters may be struggling with the challenges and effects of measures being put in place to protect us all and reduce the spread of infection.
Many members have taken the time to send messages of support to the club, and we appreciate each and every one of them – as always in challenging times, West Coast Eagles members step up and wave the flag.
At this point, the majority of our staff have relocated from our facilities at Mineral Resources Park and are working remotely while the building is closed. We don’t have all of the answers you might be seeking at this point; however, our Membership Services Team stands ready to answer the questions we can, and our SuperStore is open 24/7 online if you need your blue and gold fix.
Once we know what a season looks like, we will be in touch regarding potential membership arrangements. The old adage of “how long is a piece of string?” feels very apt at this point, and we appreciate your ongoing patience.
To stay in touch with all that is still happening behind closed doors, you can always check in with our website and social channels, where we will post behind-the-scenes action. The players are up and about and ready for a tough match this weekend! We know you’ll be cheering from your living rooms, around the country.
Once again, thank you for your loyalty and your patience while necessary processes unfold at AFL and club level – it will no doubt be a difficult year for many, but we hope to soon be able to get on with providing you a little bit of joy by doing what we do best – playing football!
As always, take care of yourself and look after those around you.