AFL Riverina chairman Michael Irons has ruled out following in the footsteps of the Hume League and making an early decision on the 2020 premiership season.
The Hume League caused a stir last week when it announced it would not play for a premiership this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions in place due to coronavirus.
The decision, made by the Hume League board, drew harsh criticism from some clubs, including premier Osborne and arch-rival Lockhart, who labelled the decision 'wrong' and 'premature'.
AFL Riverina clubs are preparing for a return to training within the week and Irons believes it is too early to be ruling a line through the 2020 season.
"It's too early to make that decision," Irons said.
"Look, obviously the whole pandemic has meant decisions have had to be made on short notice, things are fairly fluid so I think it's in our best interests of trying to give ourselves the best possible chance to play football and netball this year, that we still give it some time.
"Now that we're seeing restrictions starting to lift, let's work through to process and see what will change and whether it will allow enough of a window to play this year."
The Hume League don't appear to be backing down from the decision, despite the criticism from Osborne and Lockhart.
Several other clubs have come out in support of the decision, while Hume League president Brendan I'Anson stands by the call but concedes further consultation could have been made.
The hope is for Riverina and Farrer Leagues to hold one full round, over nine weeks, plus finals.
The junior competitions could potentially start sooner than that, due to crowd-size restrictions being less of a worry at those games.
AFL Southern NSW regional manager Marc Geppert is holding video conferences with clubs this week as they go through the education process before a return to training.
The respective working parties will also meet shortly to continue to try and plan for a prospective season.
AFL Riverina will also hold a board meeting within the next week to decide whether to implement the AFL's nationwide recommendation of a salary cap reduction for 2020.
AFL Riverina sought feedback from clubs and will now making a ruling at the next board meeting.
"The feedback was generally supportive but some clubs do have some concerns, and part of that was around the financial viability of a season," Irons said.
"We'll go through the feedback and make an informed decision."
The board will also discuss the status of the AFL Riverina Competitions Review. The proposed recommendations were handed down last August and then approved by AFL Riverina in February.
"We haven't had the opportunity to spend time on it but we do plan to also discuss that," he said.
The biggest hurdle for the implementation of the review recommendations has been the standing down of AFL NSW-ACT staff in the region.