AFL Hunter Central Coast has officially penned in a July 18 start date for the 2020 season.

AFL Hunter Central Coast has officially penned in a restart date for the as-yet-unstarted 2020 AFLHCC Women’s premiership competition, which had it’s opening rounds delayed due to the nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown period.

The Chronicle is pleased to confirm the region’s top-flight women’s AFL premiership is set to play a 12-round home and away season this year, with the restart date now locked for Saturday, July 18. The shortened season will see all teams in the revamped 10-club setup, original unveiled back in February, play each other once, and three teams twice.

The AFLHCC Women’s 2020 season will also tweak its postseason playoff plans slightly as well to make up for the shortened season. Instead of an originally planned five-roster finals series, the league will host a single-elimination four-club format in October. The grand final will be held on Saturday, October 17.

The title decider will also have a change of location, as well as a change of date. With the competition’s historic grand final venue, No.1 Sportsground, out of action from September onwards, AFLHCC will host all 2020 finals clinchers at the Central Coast Regional Sporting and Recreation Complex this season, the Herald reported in March.

The AFLHCC Women’s season has been shortened to just 12 rounds to adapt to the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Hunter Central Coast AFL board chair David Flynn admitted “footy will be a bit different this year,” all things considered, but the AFLCC organisers would be “working out the best ways to manage returning to play, taking into account government guidelines.”

“Players want to get back on the field and we will make that happen with some strict rules and regulations in place to protect people’s safety,” he continued.

“Sport plays a crucial role in keeping children, families, and communities connected and the AFL at a local, state, and national level is committed to its role in the health and wellbeing of communities.

“COVID has presented many challenges for the 2020 season, but we are up for a challenge and determined to find the opportunity for our players and football family. AFL is about more than the scoreboard and we recognise our role in helping our community return to a level of normality following unprecedented disruption.”

Newcastle City are the back-to-back-to-back AFLHCC defending champions heading into the altered 2020 season.

As reported by the Chronicle in February, the region’s top-flight women’s league will begin life as a ten-team league in 2020. This will include 2019 champions Newcastle City, past titleholders Nelson Bay, and last year’s table-toppers Killarney Vale.

The new-look competition will be rounded out by Terrigal Avoca, Cardiff, Warners Bay, Wallsend-West Newcastle, Maitland, Lake Macquarie, and Wyong Lakes.

Port Stephens, Muswellbrook, The Entrance Bateau Bay, Singleton, Gosford, and a second City squad will contest a new Black Diamond Plate women’s competition.