Despite so much uncertainly during the off-season surrounding the pandemic, it’s officially all systems go for local gridiron club the Nepean Ducks this weekend.
The Ducks will field just two teams this season – Men’s and Colts – after their successful women’s team was forced to withdraw due to lack of numbers.
The Ducks had hoped to have all three teams battle it out again for a spot in the Gridiron NSW playoffs this season, but the Coronavirus severely impacted the club’s ability to recruit players especially women.
“We had a range of issues this off-season,” Ducks President Darren White said.
“We weren’t able to hold any combines or recruitment days because they would usually be held when COVID was at its worst.
“We also found that people were tightening their purse strings after being laid off work and unfortunately our women’s team had a big drop off in numbers.”
Nepean’s female team were very successful in their inaugural season last year, reaching the playoffs.
In the meantime, the Ducks will put all their focus into their Men’s and Colts teams who both enjoyed outstanding seasons in 2019.
Not only did the Men’s team make the playoffs for the first time, but Nepean’s Colts team qualified for the Kookaburra Bowl, losing to the UTS Gators in the decider.
“Our numbers for both Colts and Men’s is really strong,” White said.
“We’ve got a good core of players back from last year’s Colts side, but many aged out. Fortunately, there’s been a really good influx of younger players and they’re looking strong this year.
“I can’t see why the Colts can’t get back to where they were last year and even take it one step further.”
On Saturday the Nepean Ducks will play the Wollongong Mustangs in the opening game of the 2020/21 Gridiron NSW season. The Colts will kick things off at 12pm, while the Men’s team will hit the field at 5pm. Both games will be played at Doug Rennie Field in Kingswood.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.