Saga’s full impact unknown
KYABRAM KEPT UNBEATEN RECORD, BUT TIME WILL TELL IF BENT GOALPOST HURTS FINALS PREPARATION
About this time the suitability of Deakin Reserve as a netball grand final venue always arises.
But with lack of seating and cover for spectators an issue, a game-stopping problem was highlighted last Saturday.
The goalpost closest to the grandstand bent outwards, halting a final round A-grade match-up between top sides Kyabram and Shepparton United.
No-one can remember an issue like this happening across the Goulburn Valley and beyond, where the welding of a goalpost has become undone.
It is almost lucky the post bent in the last round of the competition and not in three weeks’ time during an intense preliminary final, because then relocating the game, delaying it or calling it off is just not an option.
The St Kilda side of 2010 knows exactly what it is like to lose momentum from one week to the next and that shift can also happen in any time delay during the game.
Mercy Stadium next door will become an option should a game need to moved from Deakin, although surely many are beginning to see the merit in playing games there regardless.
With changerooms that are lacking until the new redevelopments are finished and a huge amount of seating, more fans would be attracted to watch the game rather than standing three or more deep in rain and wind.
There is not enough room at Deakin Reserve to expand too much for either football or netball and the lack of a second court was yet again an issue.
Earlier in the season when Mooroopna’s Paigan Impey was injured and unable to be moved against Benalla, the A-grade game was transferred across to the Saints’ second court.
While it may not have been as high of quality, it was still available in case of an unforseen stoppage, like a goalpost being bent out of shape.
The netball bylaws for the league state: ‘‘In the event of a match being cancelled the teams will share the points equally. An umpire, captain and a club official from each club shall jointly provide a short description of the basis for canceling the match to the GVL within 7 days.’’
Kyabram did not need the allocated time to file its letter to the league and the board who would make the ultimate decision.
Understandably the Bombers were hungry to progress through the season undefeated like their footballing counterparts and make history.
Coach Belinda Lees was also wary that an abandoned game meant no Wellman Medal votes would be awarded, which had the ability to hamper one of her players taking out the league’s best-and-fairest.
But the umpires acted superbly on the day, writing down votes just in case and moderating the situation with emotions heightened due to what was at stake.
With Kyabram in front 26-12, the board elected to hand the Bombers the victory in a decision more reminiscent of the bylaw regarding injuries.
‘‘(After an injury) if play is ceased prior to half-time and the margin is 10 goals or more at the stoppage, the team with the lead will be awarded the game, at the current score, and the four premiership points. If the margin is less than 10 goals at the stoppage, then two points will be awarded to each side.’’
Even more history was riding on the decision with Kyabram entering the game needing only eight goals to reach 1000 for the year in a league first.
The 26 goals have been allocated, taking the Bombers’ season tally to 1018.
But at least only records were at stake and not a team’s season.
Imagine if the same thing happened at Seymour when Euroa’s fate was dependent on the result, as a cancelled game declared a draw would have put it ahead of Echuca and back into the top six.
Teams complete safety checks prior to each match day, with both sides signing off on the paperwork.
A quick shake of the post to ensure it is stable normally does the job and it is such a strange event that is unlikely to occur again.
It was just unfortunate it came on such a high pressure day with plenty at stake particularly for Kyabram, but also for momentum at such an important time in the season.
Only time will tell if missing the preparation of playing a testing side leading into finals will hamper their performance in the first week of September.
Kyabram will always go down in history as undefeated side in this year’s home-and-away season, but there will always be an asterisk next to that round 18 game with an added explanation.