A further extension of the season is not preferred but remains an option for Northern NSW Football as they face a growing backlog of washed out fixtures.
Leading into round 11 - the midway point of the season - 14 games have been postponed in the NPL men's first grade alone as regular rain continues to wreak havoc on local grounds and schedules. Valentine, Lake Macquarie and Lambton Jaffas have been hardest hit, playing just five of nine matches each, as their home grounds fail to handle the wet weather.
NNSWF have already pushed the finals back one week in the NPL men's and youth, allowing the washed out opening round to be played on August 20-21 and still keep a spare weekend for catch-ups. Four weeks of finals will follow.
However, other games postponed to midweek, and future rounds, appear in danger because of forecasts of more rain, including this weekend.
NNSWF football operations general manager Liam Bentley said more than 300 games had been postponed across their premier competitions, which take in NPL men's, women's and youth and Northern League One.
"It's a real tricky situation and our focus has been on getting NPL men's, women's and Northern League One first grade on at the first available opportunity," Bentley said. "We know there's going to be some pretty packed months for some first-grade teams ... but we're not at a point now where we have to hit the alarm button just yet.
"We'll see what the weather does and how the grounds are. I think we'll probably have to lower our standards a bit with the grounds we want to play on. Everyone wants to play on a dry and clean surface but I think that's going to be difficult."
Extending the season has been a hot topic among NPL clubs. Bentley said the move was "not off the table but was not preferred".
"Everything is on the table at the moment because we don't know how bad the situation might get, but I think after the past two years [with COVID], the last thing anyone really wants to do is extend the season any further," he said. "It's been two tough years and this is another tough one, and the volunteers have been going probably 10, 11 months of the year over the last two, so we don't want to do that again.
"However, we're going to need to address it and we're going to talk to the clubs about it and see what the possibilities are."
Another option is to play matches on synthetic at LMRFF at Speers Point but Bentley said NNSWF wanted to give clubs "every chance to have first-grade games played at home grounds".
"We don't want to take first-grade games away from clubs because we know how important they are for gate, canteen and supporter advantage," he said.
"But, that being said, we're open to most things to try and get them played.
"If it continues like this we will have to look outside the box and I think clubs will be responsive. Their No.1 thing is getting games played.
"But it's not their fault the ground's wet. We don't want to disadvantaged those clubs too much for something that's largely out of their control."
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