Hello Folks,

As I’m sure many of you already know, the AFL has announced that NSW clubs can return to official training in small groups.

Unsurprisingly in these times, there are a number of requirements that we have to comply with in order to be able to run these sessions. We will let everyone know what the full list of requirements are shortly, but some of the key ones include;
Groups of a maximum of 10 people, including coaches and support staff
A maximum of 30 people on the ground at any time, including coaches and support staff.
No change to the composition of groups during training.
Groups must remain in fixed zones on the ground (ie in the arcs and between them).
No use of change rooms
There are actually a stack of other requirements and we’ll take you through them in due course, but the points above should give you a feel for what training might look like.

As those who are quick with their maths will have worked out, the limitation of 30 people on the ground is going to mean that we’ll need around 30 rotations per week to get all groups 2 sessions per week. This will require the use of each week night and Saturday’s to achieve, which is considerably more than our normal ground requirement for pre-season training. The cost and availability is being discussed with the Council and we’re hopeful of a positive result.

Unlike some clubs, in addition to complying with all the AFL requirements, North Shore must also have a return to training plan approved by our Council. The good news is that this is underway, so hopefully it won’t hold us up too much, if at all.

In anticipation of this announcement, our coaches have been working on training groups and scheduling for the past week or two, so announcements about that will be forthcoming in the next few days.

There is still a bit of work to do, but the good news is that we’re making progress.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank those players who have continued to pay their registration payments, even though they’re not sure about the season outcome.

Times are tough and AFL hasn’t been spared, so it’s great to know we have that kind of character in our club and I’ve got no doubt that it’ll get us to the other side of Covid-19 in a lot better shape than many other organisations.

On a related note, I received a text from Steve Lemm tonight confirming a sponsorship payment from Mortgage Choice Neutral Bay.

We’re very aware of the impact of Covid-19 on our sponsors’ businesses, so we haven’t pushed them for payments they’re not able to make, particularly given the uncertainty over the AFL season.

That makes Steve’s contribution remarkable, but it fits completely with his personality and with his overall contribution to our club and to our community.

He probably won’t be happy with me highlighting this, but I think we have to thank and to celebrate those who help us through these difficult times.

I think this also highlights the collective responsibility that we have to support our sponsors as best we can, so if you’re in the market for finance please support Steve.

To wrap up, while a spike in Covid-19 infections will undoubtedly set things back, it’s fantastic to finally see some tangible progress. I can’t wait to get back to training and I look forward to seeing you all there.

John Goode – President