Saga’s full im­pact un­known

KYABRAM KEPT UN­BEATEN RECORD, BUT TIME WILL TELL IF BENT GOAL­POST HURTS FI­NALS PREPA­RA­TION

Shepparton News - - SPORT - What’s next? Not quite the same:

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.

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