Queanbeyan Tigers head coach, Adrian Pavese, expects the current COVID-19 pandemic to have a ripple effect which will extend far beyond the immediate future.
After all community Aussie Rules was called off by the AFL around the country due to the coronavirus until May 31, Pavese said the right call had been made.
"It's health and wellbeing of players, staff, officials, families, and supporters takes priority," he said.
But, he added, losing nearly half a season of football would undoubtedly have a huge impact on the clubs and their stockholders.
"We're in unprecedented times. The long term ramifications of what's happening are just as huge as [the immediate ramifications]," Pavese said.
"For the footy club, it's going to put a fair dent in the season, not just for this year but the next ten years.
"Financially, a lot of clubs will struggle now. You've got your licensed club as well that needs to recover, it's not just the football club but the cascading effects from the football clubs, including the supplier.
"It will change the dynamic of clubs in the near future and how it looks going forward."
Aside from safeguarding the club's financial future, Pavese's immediate attention is on the mental welfare of his players.
"That [sense of community has] basically been taken away from them," he said.
"We've had to stay in touch via social media and stay in touch with them to make sure they're okay."
The timing of the decision to suspend the season was particularly unfortunate, as it was made when the players were coming to the end of a grueling pre-season.
"A lot of the players had put in four or five months of hard work and they were ready to go," Pavese said.
"That's no different to any other club, but we were cherry ripe and ready to go.
"All the gear was bought and the renovations were completed and now we've got no-one to show. It's a surreal feeling."
In lieu of the first half of the season, Pavese has begun posting fitness programs and reviewing match footage with his players through social media to keep them prepared.
There is a fine balance, he said, between ensuring the players remain engaged without overloading them with information.
"It comes down to making sure the players feel engaged, but we have to make sure we don't go too hard with the information," Pavese said.
"Every three or four days we try and update our Facebook page."
With a large chunk of the season written off, Pavese hopes his players can just get on the field at some point in 2020.
To make up for the lost income this year, the Tigers will auction off merchandise online. They have also encouraged their fans to become members and show their support for the club.
For more information, visit the Queanbeyan Tigers Facebook page or go to www.tigersclub.com.au.
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