Dear All,

As we get deeper into the year and the season, the obstacles and challenges continue to confront us. The recent wet weather, postponement of games and impacts on training schedules are all impediments that add to the concerns we already struggle with in daily COVID-19 related life.

I assure you though, that from a Maitland Football point of view, the club’s Executive and Management Committee are absolutely dedicated to the task of providing the opportunity for competitive football for the Youth in our charge. We don’t always get it right, but I assure you we always give it the best effort.

Youth Games Away this weekend at Charlestown.

I wish our Youth teams the best of luck. Our start to the season, whilst mixed for each team, in general has been very positive and heartening. The stop/start nature of the season due to the Virus, plus impacted by regular wet weather has limited development opportunities. Overall though, performances looking very positive. We just need to keep on believing in ourselves and our team mates.

Senior Games Home this weekend against Valentine.

Good results against Lake Macquarie allowed us to recover from some of the disappointment that we experienced at Edgeworth the week before. The signs are good that we will come away with points on Sunday, but we must fight hard to ensure that sort of result in each game. Head Coach Bolchy (Michael Bolch) knows the importance of the 1st grade squad getting into a consistent mindset of hard work, commitment and completion and he is certainly looking for full points out of the next few games.

Rescheduled Games.

Incredibly, the U13s/U14s teams have had their Round 2 game rescheduled 3 times. The round was originally due to be played before the COVID shutdown, but was not played due to rain. It was then rescheduled for mid-week. That reschedule as it turned out, was the very day the whole lockdown came into place. The third occasion was Tuesday this week, when the East Coast Low came to town and upset all plans. The games have now been rescheduled again at Cooks to Wednesday 5th August. They are able to be rescheduled only because they are Pre COVID scheduled – any Youth games washed out since the restart of the season will not be replayed.

In Seniors the local derby, dubbed as El Classicoal, which was washed out last Sunday is also scheduled for Wednesday the 5th out at Weston. For those unfamiliar with the term El Classicoal, it is derived from the term given to the clashes between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid – “El Classico”. That term is then converted to respect the coal mining history of the region.

Disruptions to Training Schedules

There have been some comments in regard to communication related to training disruptions particularly in the week just past. I appreciate that changes at short notice do create problems for many families, and I send my apologies in that regard.

On the other hand I would like you to be aware of the many issues that need to be covered and considered when normal training sessions are disrupted.

Firstly, and you do not need to be reminded, that we are living in a world dominated by COVID-19 impacted restrictions. During Wet Weather the communication from council regarding what grounds are open and what grounds are closed is not available until mid afternoon. Not a criticism of them – they have many grounds to cover. The club then needs to be able to consider our options, based on what grounds are available and what grounds we can gain access to. We cannot undertake training at grounds where we do not have in place council acknowledged COVID-19 Safety Plans. Our Football Executive are motivated to get players training. The easy option would be to just cancel the session. Previously we have paid a hire fee to utilise the hockey arena, and we would have taken up that option this week, but the Hockey management themselves acknowledged that because it had been flooded, the surface was dangerously slippery.

Current communication methods are a great help. What with texting and Apps etc., however the volume of communication that needs to occur between football management and coaches, on a wet afternoon after normal training grounds have been closed is enormous and even after all of that communication, sometimes we still don’t have an acceptable option that works. Please be patient and understanding.

COVID-19 Protocols

Please be conscious how important it is to comply with the designated restrictions. They are there for everyone’s protection.

Those visiting the Charlestown ground today will find no entry restrictions but they will be policing the social distancing rules strongly. Please don’t resist that club’s policing of that requirement.

There will be a limit of only 8 persons at any one time in each dressing room. Half Time and full time briefing will need to occur out on the field.

At Cooks on Sunday, you will find that we have heightened the protocols towards social distancing and QR registration will be present on the gate. Through the week there has been much discussion in regard to teams use of the change rooms, and those outcomes will be in place for Sunday.

We welcome all Magpie players, parents and supporters to the ground to show as much support and enthusiasm for our senior teams and players.

Social Media Upgrades

As previously advised, we continue to work on upgrades to our Social Media outlets, particularly the Maitland Football website and the Maitland Magpie app. Please log into these facilities and offer your feedback and ideas as they continue their upgrades.

Ray Watkins
Maitland FC