It’s a mess but United boss backs O’Rourke

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT -

United has to fit six matches in to the re­duced time frame, with nine fewer days than it would have had if kick­ing off on Thurs­day. City has three games to play and Vic­tory, which is se­cond last on the ALeague ta­ble, has five.

It’s un­der­stood the three squads will stay in the same ho­tel in Syd­ney’s west dur­ing the quar­an­tine pe­riod, and use Fair­field’s Mar­coni Sta­dium and Black­town’s Valen­tine Park for train­ing.

O’Rourke has taken the blame for the prob­lems, with the three teams hav­ing been at Mel­bourne air­port on Mon­day and Tues­day ready to fly across the bor­der, only to be re­turn home be­cause of fog and half-baked travel ex­emp­tions. On Thurs­day night, O’Rourke said the mishaps could cost him his job.

How­ever, Pehli­va­nis doesn’t want O’Rourke to be made a scape­goat, say­ing there was a col­lec­tive blame.

“Peo­ple shouldn’t lose jobs over a mis­take,” he said.

“It’s not life or death. It’s not just his fault, it’s every­one’s fault. The guy had a writ­ten agree­ment for us to leave the next day, and then ev­ery­thing changes on him, so it’s not to­tally his fault.”

How­ever, Pehli­va­nis said clubs needed to be lis­tened to, claim­ing the sit­u­a­tion could have been avoided had United’s wish to leave for NSW last week­end been granted.

“If we had left early then none of this would hap­pened,” he said.

Vic­tory chief ex­ec­u­tive Trent Ja­cobs said the events of Mon­day and Tues­day nights had been “in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing and com­pro­mised our play­ers and staff”.

“While our club was dis­ap­pointed with what tran­spired, we have re­mained fo­cused on work­ing to­gether with FFA and the Vic­to­rian clubs to find a so­lu­tion,” he said.

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