Broughton-Mundoora face uncertainty after a championship year

PAST GLORY: Broughton-Mundoora's Joseph Scmitt leaps into the air to punch the ball in last year's grand final. PHOTO: Meg Roberts, Broughton-Mundoora Football Club
PAST GLORY: Broughton-Mundoora's Joseph Scmitt leaps into the air to punch the ball in last year's grand final. PHOTO: Meg Roberts, Broughton-Mundoora Football Club

As the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact more and more aspects of 'normal' life for all Australians, country footy clubs like Broughton-Mundoora have had to face a harsh reality.

Last year, A Grade coach Nick Hewett led his team to a grand final victory in the Northern Areas Football League.

One week ago the SANFL strongly recommended all community football be suspended until further notice, throwing a huge spanner in the works for a club looking to chase another flag.

Since then, the stability of the sport has only deteriorated with the AFL suspended, borders closing and businesses asked to shut.

Coach Nick Hewett said this has prompted a change in his approach to coaching over recents days and weeks.

"First of all we were all taken aback at how quickly it all escalated," he said.

"Being in country Australia you can feel like you're fairly isolated but it has certainly gotten pretty real pretty quickly.

"In the initial stages everyone was probably a little disappointed because they have put in a fair bit of effort over the summer.

"But I think now everyone is starting to look a little bit bigger picture, and while sport plays a massive role in all of our lives and we all love our footy I think everyone is just hoping that they have come out of it with their health and everyone's families' health."

His concerns also extends beyond the playing group, as businesses begin to feel the pressure.

"You worry about small businesses, particularly living in the country."

"The other thing about small country towns is they rely on sponsorship so that's another way the club is impacted. Hopefully everyone does the right thing and supports local while they can."

With the restrictions on social movements and business operations changing daily, Hewett said their outlook for the upcoming season has had to shift as well.

"Initially conversation was around try and keep yourself a little bit fit in case we do end up playing," he said.

"There are probably bigger things at play here and let them wrap their heads around it.

"A lot of them might be a little bit concerned about livelihood."

However there is still hope that a season could be salvaged in the second half of the year.

"..whether it be condensed or a little bit of a compromise in having to go a little bit later, you'd like to think that we would be able to do that so that we can lift the community spirits a little bit," Hewett said.

"Everyone loves their footy but obviously some bigger stuff going on at the moment."

"You just hope everyone comes out of it with their health and then the secondary thing is hopefully everyone's business and livelihood is still intact."

Hewett, himself a school teacher, coached the Broughton-Mundoora A Grade for the first time last year after playing for the club as a junior and in recent years.

This story Bigger than footy first appeared on The Flinders News.