Football clubs raise concern over date change to the Goulburn Valley Football League grand final.ERIN LYONS August 13, 2014 3:04am
The Goulburn Valley Football League’s decision to move the 2015 final back one week has triggered concern from various clubs in the league.
The GVFL made the choice to move the final to the first Sunday in October to coincide with the AFL grand final, which has moved to October 3 from its traditional last Saturday in September.
The GVFL was originally scheduled to kick-off over the Easter long weekend, however the grand final move and an early Easter has prompted apprehension.
Echuca Football Club, which traditionally hosts an Easter clash, is concerned a collection of clubs will not want to play over the Easter weekend because it would result in a longer season.
Club president Brett Stevens said the club was happy to play over the long weekend because of the influx of tourists during that period.
‘‘Realistically Echuca would like to play the Easter weekend,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s very important that we play Easter, especially for a tourist town.
‘‘The club who hosts the Easter game benefit from the tourism at that time.
‘‘There are only two of those major tourist towns in the area, one being Echuca and the other being Mansfield.’’
Last week GVFL president Keith Wellman said the league was unsure who would host an Easter clash but there was a chance it would end up with Rochester.
Stevens said it would be a huge boost for Rochester economically.
‘‘Rochester might have it and they would benefit from the Echuca tourists,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of those tourists will go down.’’
Stevens was confident the league would play over Easter and is hopeful Echuca will host the clash.
‘‘We need to talk to the (Campaspe) shire about the importance of the Easter weekend,’’ he said.
‘‘The early Easter does impact the season but an extended season does not happen often.’’
Lengthening the season to begin over Easter means the league would have to incorporate an extra bye or split round within the revised fixture.
However, Stevens said this was a positive thing in regard to recovery time.
‘‘It (playing over Easter) means we will have more of a break,’’ he said.
‘‘That extra bye in the season would be good for the players.’’
The league is expected to discuss the grand final move with each of the club presidents within the next fortnight.
‘‘We don’t usually have our fixture done until later, like last year it wasn’t finalised until January.
‘‘We still have not sat down and discussed it yet.’’
As a result of having to revise the entire fixture, ground availability may become an issue.
However, Stevens said it should not be too much of a problem for Echuca.
‘‘The new fixture shouldn’t affect the availability of the grounds too much,’’ he said.
‘‘It may do so earlier in the season and might impact on the practice matches.
‘‘But we can play elsewhere, we’ve done it before and there are ways around it.’’
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