As everyone knows by now, the AFL has cancelled the 2021 Sydney AFL season as a consequence of the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
They have also advised that there will be no premierships, medals or awards given in relation to this season.
Despite the seemingly inevitable outcome, the announcement is still disappointing, with the final reality that what was building as a great season in so many ways, is now officially over.
I’m sure it will take time to process for some of us, but once we get through that phase, we need to turn our collective thinking to season 2022. On that front, I’ve spoken with a few people who have good insight into the pandemic, vaccine roll outs, boosters etc and the general sentiment is that we can be quite confident about getting through next season!!
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every player, coach, sponsor, volunteer, administrator and supporter associated with our club for the fantastic contributions you’ve all made, from the start of preseason in November last year until now.
We didn’t get the finish to the season that we all would have liked, but your collective efforts have ensured that we’ve gone forward again in 2021, despite another year of adversity – something we seem to be getting pretty good at!
From an on field perspective, when the season was suspended I felt like we had the best team in 6 divisions, really strong finals chances in a couple of others and solid development across all grades. Pretty good I’d say!
Our off field team did a great job helping us to recover from the disruption of 2020 and had put us in a really promising position for this year. Unfortunately, they get to do it all again!
We’ve already had one or two inquiries about fee refunds, so I’ll briefly address this.
Most significantly, we are a not-for-profit club, not a fee for service business. There are costs associated with running the club that we try to offset with sponsorship, functions & events, canteen, bar, donations etc. We do raise quite a bit of money, but even in a normal year the results of those efforts never fully cover our costs, so the members of the club (ie players) ‘club’ together to cover the funding gap. That’s what fees are for.
It’s notable that we don’t receive any funds from the AFL, the Council or the government. All our funds are generated through the club and the AFL and the Council are actually our biggest costs every year (ie we pay them).
The shortening of the season and the various Covid restrictions this year have resulted in an unplanned $50,000 increase in that funding gap. The Committee is working on a range of initiatives to reduce the gap and to put us in a good position to start 2022 (as they also did last year), but it’s very unlikely we’ll reach a position where refunds will be possible.
On a more positive note, we are working on a number of initiatives that will improve what we do as a club in season 2022 and there will be some announcements about these things over the off season.
Even at this very early stage, next season promises a lot and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we’ve been developing come to fruition.
I’d like to thank all of you again for your considerable efforts this season and I’m sorry you didn’t get the opportunity to see the season through to its logical conclusion, whatever that might have been.
Hopefully we can get together before the end of the year and I’m looking forward to a better year in 2022!!
In the meantime, look after yourselves and go well.
John Goode – President