K rock Football

Grand final clash on the cards

TWO local grand finals are on a collision course as the GFL became the last competition to confirm its fixture for the 2022 season.

AFL Barwon has scheduled the GFL decider for Saturday, September 10 – the same day as the GDFL’s marquee day.

It’s not the first time local grand finals have been scheduled to clash in recent years, with the GDFL and Bellarine originally falling on the same day in 2019.

The clash was averted when the GDFL moved its grand finals to a Sunday.

New AFL Barwon boss Bruce Harwood admits the clash is “not ideal for the local footy community”.

“But we’ve been very conscious of trying to make sure we get through the season with as minimal breaks as possible and leave a little bit of fat on the bone, that if we do miss a week or two or three with COVID, then we can pick them up,” he said.

“Hence the consolidation of the GFL year, in particular.

“It’s such an unknown that we’re just trying to be prepared for the “what ifs?”.

“I do understand the GDFL won’t be happy, but in the current climate, we thought this was the best way to get a full season as soon and as practicable as possible.”

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Harwood didn’t rule out AFL Barwon making a chance to GFL grand final day closer to the date.

“Everything’s on the table,” he said. “We’ve already had those “what if?” discussions about that exact possibility.

“Ideally, we don’t want to clash. But, we’re not prepared to run the risk of not getting the full season in.”

In a move that clubs will welcome, the 2022 fixture will see each team play everybody else once before return meetings get underway.

“It’s one of those things that a lot of clubs spoke about,” Harwood said.

“They were getting to three-quarters of the way through the season and had played some clubs twice and not played other clubs at all.

“It’s a fair call, so we wanted to make sure that everybody plays everybody once and then work out how the back third of the season might look.”

Twitter: @tom_king79