The Draffens of Warrnambool kick on at home amid coronavirus restrictions

BACKYARD BATTLES: Draffen siblings Malachi, Levi, Jordan and Josiah enjoy a kick on their footy oval at Ellerslie.
BACKYARD BATTLES: Draffen siblings Malachi, Levi, Jordan and Josiah enjoy a kick on their footy oval at Ellerslie.

The MCG is sitting vacant and the lights are off at Marvel Stadium but there is a footy oval on a family farm in country Victoria still in action.

The self-titled Draffen Football Ground is home to five siblings who just want to have a kick.

Isaac, 15, Jordan, 14, Josiah, 13, Malachi, 12, and Levi, 11, were preparing for the Warrnambool and District league season, which was to start on Saturday, before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be postponed.

They play for Allansford while Jordan doubles up to play for South Warrnambool in the Western Victoria Female Football League.

Mum Rene Draffen said her children, who go to school in Warrnambool, were passionate about the game.

She said mowing an oval and sticking up goal posts at the family's Ellerslie property had proven a popular decision.

FAMILY FUN: The Draffen siblings - Jordan 14, Malachi 12, Josiah 13, Isaac 15, and Levi 11 - in their AFL club colours.

FAMILY FUN: The Draffen siblings - Jordan 14, Malachi 12, Josiah 13, Isaac 15, and Levi 11 - in their AFL club colours.

"The kids started playing with Allansford footy club about three years ago and they just wanted somewhere to have a kick the football," Rene said.

"Instead of just giving them a garden to play in, we mowed the grass and set up some poles and they call it the Draffen Footy Ground."

Rene said football was something the kids enjoyed doing together.

"There is the odd fight and brawl on the ground," she said.

"Sometimes it gets a bit dark so they set up spotlights so they can still play.

"They just have fun, chase each other and pretend to have a full-on game."

The siblings are on opposing teams off the field.

Isaac is a Carlton supporter, Jordan goes for Geelong, Josiah followed his mum in barracking for Essendon, Malachi picked Hawthorn and Levi has bragging rights at the moment as a fan of reigning premier Richmond.

Dad Leigh goes for West Coast.

"They were allowed to pick any team but Collingwood," Rene said.

The children are spending more time on their own home ground following an AFL Victoria decision to postpone football competitions in the south-west until at least May 31 following the COVID-19 outbreak.

HOLDING THE BALL: Draffen brothers Josiah, 13, and Levi, 11, on their family's own football ground at Ellerslie.

HOLDING THE BALL: Draffen brothers Josiah, 13, and Levi, 11, on their family's own football ground at Ellerslie.

"They have all had their footy boots on and have been out there playing," Rene said.

"They are all pretty disappointed they can't play, probably for the season, so they are just improvising now.

"They can at least roam the paddocks and kick the footy."

Rene said she encouraged her children to reach their potential.

Isaac shared Allansford's under 15 best and fairest with Ethan Boyd last year and Jordan dreams of being an AFLW player, preferably wearing the Cats' famous blue and white hoops.

The MCG will become a cauldron full of AFL fans and Marvel Stadium will host big matches again once the pandemic passes.

But for the time being, and well into the future, the Draffen Football Ground will remain the surface of choice for five football-loving siblings.

This story No local footy, no problem for this family of fanatics first appeared on The Standard.