Derby clash needs to be earlier in season
Hawks president says derby clash needs to be earlier in season
WANGARATTA Rovers president Andrew Smith is disappointed the first Wangaratta derby of the 2019 Ovens and Murray Football Netball League season won’t be played until the start of June.
The O&M yesterday released their draw for 2019 with the two Wangaratta derbies set down for June 2 (WJ Findlay Oval) and August 18 (Norm Minns Oval).
In a similar situation to 2018, the Hawks and Magpies won’t face off until round eight despite both clubs’ preference to play the blockbuster clash in the first five rounds of the season.
Both derbies last season clashed with several other events with Wangaratta’s home game in June going up against the Winery Walkabout while when it was the Hawks’ turn to host in the last round, district finals in the Ovens and King were being played.
And while the Wangaratta derby will have to wait, the first Albury and Wodonga derby match-ups will both be played on Anzac Day in round four.
With a new coach in Daryn Cresswell and a new-look line-up expected, Smith said the Hawks were disappointed their home derby wasn’t earlier in the year.
“It makes sense to play it earlier in the year,” Smith said.
“Ideally it’s better to play earlier for both clubs because it’s a big game when both clubs can generate some interest.
“But at the end of the day, it is what it is.
“I understand next year was a bit trickier with Easter and Anzac Day so close.”
When asked about his thoughts on playing the Wangaratta derby late in the first and second rounds of the season, Wangaratta president Tony Goodison played a straight bat.
“We get good crowds to those games either way but the earlier in the season, the better I would have thought,” he said.
“Rovers have the first one next year after we had it this year.”
Outside of the derby clashes, Wangaratta has been granted its wish of two night games early in the season with matches against Corowa/ Rutherglen (March 30) and Wodonga Raiders (April 6) scheduled.
The clash with the Roos has been brought forward from round four with the O&M locking in two games on March 30 before the official first round on April 6.
Reigning premier Albury meets Wangaratta in a grand final re-match in round six at the Albury Sportsground.
“We looked to have two night games next year so we’re pretty happy to get those in,” Goodison said.
“They’re both early in the season and we generally get good crowds to those games.
“We would have liked to get a Good Friday night game so we’ve missed that again but maybe next year.
“We don’t play Albury at home until later in the year either.”
Wangaratta Rovers also have a mightily tough start to the season when they face reigning premier Albury at the Tigers’ home ground while they also travel to Myrtleford on Easter Sunday.
The Magpies meet Yarrawonga on Easter Sunday at Mulwala’s Lonsdale Reserve while the corresponding match in round 12 will be played on Sunday at the Norm Minns Oval.
The full O&M draw for 2019 can be found on the Wangaratta
Chronicle Facebook page.
BIG CLASH: Wangaratta Rovers’ Stuart Booth and Wangaratta’s Jessie Smith compete during the final round of the 2018 O&M season. The derby clashes will again remain later in the season next year, much to the disappointment of the Hawks camp.
Wangaratta president Tony Goodison