A men's grand final rematch in round two and club triple-headers - the draws for the 2020 AFL Central West season might be short but they still promise plenty of highlights.
The league's senior and junior draws were released on Thursday night ahead of the July 18 season-opening round and for AFLCW general manager Rebecca Marshall, it brought with it both relief and excitement.
"We had some really great plans coming into 2020 and COVID hit, so we definitely took a step back," she said.
"But what that has allowed us to do is reset and then get the fixtures in a really good spot. I'm really happy with it, there are some really great triple headers - just some great experience game days, which is what the league deserves.
"When that first bounce happens I'm going to be so happy. The big thing for us throughout this was not just about getting footy on the park, but doing it the safe way, we've been really conscious about that the whole way through."
This season the three senior grades - two for the men plus the women's league - will feature nine rounds then a two-week finals series involving the top three. The minor premiers will advance straight to the grand final.
The top men's tier will feature a Bathurst Giants versus Bathurst Bushrangers derby in the opening round while Orange faces Dubbo.
The following week it will be a grand final rematch when the Bushrangers host the Orange Tigers.
The women's season also opens with a Bathurst derby between the defending premiers the Giants and 2019 runners-up the Lady Bushrangers, while Cowra hosts the returning Dubbo side. Orange has the first-round bye.
While Marshall is eager to see those fixtures unfold, she is perhaps more excited to see the men's second tier competition go ahead. It features two Bushrangers sides - Outlaws and Rebels - plus Parkes, Cowra and Orange.
Outlaws will host Parkes and Cowra the Rebels in the opening round, with Tigers the first team to have the bye.
Not only does it mean the Bushrangers (rounds two, three and six) and Tigers (rounds five-eight) get to host senior triple headers, but Marshall says it will help the league build towards a bigger future.
"I am so happy with where that has landed, I know early in the year there was some back and forth as to whether we could get it up," Marshall said of the second tier.
"Why I've always been a fan of it is that it's a great way for participants to enter the game that might not have played before, and it's a great opportunity for our ageing-out 17s in the next couple of years to come straight into the senior grade, get used to it, then hopefully make it into the next tier."
Overall Marshall anticipates each of the three senior grades to be hotly contested and with up to 500 people permitted at grounds at this stage, spectators will be able to enjoy the action as well.
"I think there's going to be some really tough games and a short season may actually work in our favour, I think we'll have a really exciting finals series," she said.
"There will be some good footy to watch.
"Our understanding and what communication we've had with government guidelines and the public health order is that if the crowd is likely to be under 500, which would be our expectation for games, we won't need to create a spectator register. We are just further clarifying some of those details."
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