AFL Rd 1 - Richmond v Carlton
AFL Rd 1 - Richmond v Carlton

Future uncertain for Gympie sport as pandemic continues

OPINION: The coronavirus pandemic is not only causing panic in the supermarkets, sporting fans are noticing the implications this could cause to the codes both domestically and internationally.

We are in for some grim times ahead and it could mean sport is not going to be the same again and not in a good way.

Players compete for the ball as empty seats are seen due to the coronavirus outbreak during the 2020 AFL Round 1 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Players compete for the ball as empty seats are seen due to the coronavirus outbreak during the 2020 AFL Round 1 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Pundits are saying the NRL and AFL could take years to get back to the position they were in before this pandemic broke.

It feels like the world is ending. Seeing the AFL season opener between the Richmond Tigers and Carlton Blues on Thursday night with an empty MCG was eerie. Usually it would have been a sellout.

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If those leagues are worried about their financial positions, what about the sporting clubs here in Gympie? What is their future and likelihood of survival if the national major competitions are concerned financially?

The sporting clubs in Gympie rely on their home games for some of their income, having the bar and canteen running. With competitions on pause until further notice what is the option for when games are given the green light?

Albert Park sports ground in Gympie would usually have touch, Hammers and the occasional Devils match but it will be empty as well for the time being. Photo: Renee Albrecht
Albert Park sports ground in Gympie would usually have touch, Hammers and the occasional Devils match but it will be empty as well for the time being. Photo: Renee Albrecht

Who is going to foot their financial bill? Will membership fees for players or prices of food and drinks rise? Will fans and spectators need to pay to watch games which would usually be free to ensure the clubs’ survival?

It seems like a kick in the guts to codes here who have seen not just numbers on the rise but the talented players coming through ready to make an impact.

Since I moved to Gympie in 2018, I have been in contact with all clubs and closely followed their teams. Each of the codes has improved and this season all clubs were prepared for an impact.

Billy Bayldon sends in a corner kick for Gympie United Gladiators. Picture: Shane Zahner
Billy Bayldon sends in a corner kick for Gympie United Gladiators. Picture: Shane Zahner

They had been building towards their breakout season. The Gladiators premier men and women were certainly not looking to make friends, they were going to take the competition by the horns and show the Sunny Coast who is boss.

The Gympie Devils had an A-grade team in 2018 and they now have four teams, A-grade, reserves men, under-18s and women’s, with the coaches expecting big things.

Gympie Devils Under-18s are just one of the sides that will have to wait to celebrate sporting victories. Picture: Shane Zahner
Gympie Devils Under-18s are just one of the sides that will have to wait to celebrate sporting victories. Picture: Shane Zahner

Gympie Hammers men’s new coach Brent Dickfos said he was confident his boys could win the title and women’s coach Glenn Gamble was expecting a similar outcome with his women’s side after their win at the Roma 7s.

Who can forget our Gympie Cats? Their women have been phenomenal this season and their men’s side has been looking strong this year.

Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club’s new men’s reserve grade coach Brent Dickfos had the aim of a premiership this season with the players to make that happen, but that is all up in the air now.
Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club’s new men’s reserve grade coach Brent Dickfos had the aim of a premiership this season with the players to make that happen, but that is all up in the air now.

Cooloola Heat coach Dom Stephens said with the club’s new recruits they could have a more flexible game plan and after the rebuild of last season they could really make their mark this year.

All this excitement for our teams will have to wait but hopefully they are able to survive this and we can celebrate their victories.