Football clubs across Tasmania are set to face huge financial challenges in 2020, says Lilydale premiership coach Colin Lockhart.
The NTFA, TSL, NTJFA and ODFA have all been postponed until at least May 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak, with some doubt remaining over whether a football season will be played at all.
Premiers in two of the past three NTFA seasons, Lilydale forked out more than $10,000 on new apparel in the off-season and may struggle to recover the cost without the usual income obtained from games and functions.
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The NTFA, ODFA and TSL have all lost multiple clubs in the past three years, and Lockhart believes more could follow in the wake of coronavirus.
"We're probably going to lose a couple of footy clubs by the end of all this," Lockhart said.
"I know we've got a little bit of a nest egg, but we're going to chew that up just on apparel.
"And we've got stock - we stocked up for our auction and our first game with alcohol and food, all that's going out of date so eventually the footy club is going to have to wipe that off and that's a loss.
"Then we've got all this new apparel with sponsors on it and if one of those sponsors pull out, we've got their signs on all our gear.
"We'll have to re-sit with our sponsors because you can't expect them to sign up for what they do and then say 'we're only going to play 10 games'.
"Lilydale footy club will be right, we're only a little country club with a heap of locals and all that, we don't pay the big dollars to players.
"But some of these bigger clubs who spend a lot, they're going to struggle."
The NTFA announced the postponement of season 2020 on March 17, just two weeks out from the original round one date of March 28.
Lockhart responded to the season's postponement by giving his players an extended break from the club, with plans to return to training sometime after Easter.
In the meantime, players are managing their own fitness with runs, bike rides, and the odd round of golf.
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"The players at the moment are just doing their own thing but they've been challenging themselves by putting their runs onto our player page," the reigning Tasmanian senior coach of the year said.
"We're probably just resetting because there's no use me going 'I need you doing 5km runs' because they're not going to do it and we can't really expect them to do it because we might not actually play this year.
"It's basically and another Christmas reset and hopefully we will start in June."
Lilydale were again entering the campaign as strong flag favourites having blitzed through last season undefeated.
The Demons are expected to field a younger 22 this year than last, with Shaun Avent, Ty Dingjan and Declan Ellis among the major improvers over off-season.
Veteran ruckman Andrew McLean's playing status remains unknown.