THE AFL North West's top boss is confident the region's players will take the field at some stage this season.
The league's community football manager Paul Taylor said he remains optimistic there will be some play this year, despite the season being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We haven't seen a lot of detail around it yet, but I know there are a lot of conversations happening at a national level, which could potentially help," Taylor told the Leader.
"Locally, while both AFL North West and North Coast were slated to finish on the first Saturday in September, there is scope for us to go later into the year than that.
"We've always wanted to try and limit how deep into September we want to go, to give people the chance to watch the AFL.
"But I think we are already at the point where we can realistically expect that the national competition won't be finishing on time and we could very well follow suit."
Several theories on continuing the AFL North West season have been raised, including the possibility of hosting carnival days, similar to the annual Crossroads Cup tournament.
"Our goal is to deliver football to people," Taylor said.
"Even if we get to a point where everything falls out and we are only left with a month to play, we will do our best to still give people footy.
"It may mean we might decide to run four Crossroad Cup tournaments, which may or may not happen, but it will still allow us to give people footy."
The 2020 season was set to be historic for the league as the Gunnedah Bulldogs and Glen Innes Celts looked to expand their playing ranks.
The Bulldogs were aiming to field a women's team and a junior team, while the Celts were preparing to field a side in the under-17 competition.
Meanwhile, the season would have also marked the first time the Moree Suns and Narrabri Eagles would have joined forces as a joint venture.
"I think the region has long been a chance of being very isolated due to things like the drought, the bushfires and now the COVID-19 pandemic," Taylor said.
"Football has been playing a vital role for people to get together, connect and look after each other. While in some senses it might be easier for some clubs to look ahead to 2021 and forget this season, I think people need footy now.
"The sooner we can give them something the better and I think no one will be putting the cue in the rack, but going full steam ahead."
Despite the urge of some clubs to begin playing competitive games as soon as possible, Taylor said a training period would commence before any games were played.
"Whenever we are told there will be a competition start date, a couple of weeks before that we will be given the green light to start training again," he said.
"It has been said right from the top at the very start of the pandemic, once we are given a start date there will be a training period.
"I don't think the training period will be about team performance, but instead will be about sharpening up everyone's skills and reconnecting with your teammates."
Taylor warned against players or clubs getting together against the government's social distancing guidelines to "get a head start" on training.
"The last thing we want is for anyone to get sick because of a group getting together for a kick," he said.
"I'm urging everyone to continue doing the right thing and do what you can, within the guidelines, to be ready once we are given the green light."