K rock Football

Grand finals on collision course

LOCAL football fanatics may have to decide between attending the Bellarine and Geelong and District grand finals in 2019.

AFL Barwon has confirmed it will start next season a week later than this year, pushing the BFL’s grand final date back to September 14.

That is also the date krockfootball.com.au understands the GDFL has set aside for its decider if a proposal to play on the AFL Grand Final Eve public holiday doesn’t receive the support of clubs at next week’s annual general meeting.

“I know the GDFL have looked to potentially play the Friday public holiday before the AFL Grand Final. I’m not sure where that’s currently at,” recently-appointed AFL Barwon Region General Manager Will McGregor said.

“But, if they do not do that, then potentially there will be a clash between the Geelong and District and the Bellarine.

“I know in the past that Bellarine have played on a Sunday, but it’s unlikely we’ll do it this year.”

If the grand finals do clash, it will be only the second time (the one occasion was 2013) they’ve clashed since the BFL last played its grand final on a Sunday in 2003.

“I agree that I don’t think it is ideal,” McGregor said.

“But, in saying that, they are two different population demographics, and hopefully they draw differing crowds.”

For the first time in recent memory, the BFL, GDFL and GFL all look set to start on the same date – April 6.

The GDFL won’t play at Easter, while GFL clubs have been given the option to fixture games across the long weekend.

However, McGregor believes most will opt for the weekend off, with Round 3 to open with the traditional Anzac Day clash between St Joseph’s and South Barwon.

Bellarine clubs will look to cash in on the increased numbers along the coast over the weekend, with Torquay again keen to play Modewarre on Good Friday.

McGregor confirmed the majority of BFL games that weekend would be played at coastal locations despite requests from clubs like Modewarre, Geelong Amateur and Newcomb.

However, he hasn’t ruled out it being shared around in the future.

“Obviously everyone heads to the coast that weekend, so the drawcard is that those clubs receive an increase in gate takings, which means increased bar takings, canteen takings,” McGregor said.

“So there’s definitely benefits to those coastal clubs that get to host over that weekend.

“Over the course of the next year or two, I’m certainly open to looking at ways to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to play across those weekends.”

The AFL Victoria Community Championships have been set aside for May 18.

The GFL is set for a meeting with old foe Ovens and Murray, with McGregor not ruling playing the match as a curtain raiser to the Geelong-Western Bulldogs twilight meeting at GMHBA Stadium.

“It’s a potential,” he said.

“The other factor is that AFL Victoria in the past has played the highest ranked country game at the MCG, so we’re waiting on some confirmation around that before establishing where that game will be played.”

The AFL match at the MCG scheduled for that day is between Collingwood and St Kilda and not the Essendon-Geelong Country Game as it has been the last two years.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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