Hello everyone and welcome to round 10. Another busy week unfolded, and I can assure you all there are plenty of administrative issues to address as we race towards out 2021 finals series.
By the time you all get to read this article it will have become public knowledge that our league will abandon rounds 17 and 18 from our 2021 draw and our finals series will remain as previously scheduled with our Grand Final date or 11th of September remaining unchanged. I guess this strategy contained the least disruption and I equally acknowledge this option allowed some level of normality and structure in everyone’s plans and life.
But in the other hand what is normal about anything COVID related and the dramatic impacts a sudden lockdown can have? Somehow, we adjust our thinking, adjust our plans and adjust our lives accordingly which is admirable to say the least.
What some of you may not know is that our Board also proposed an extended season version for our clubs to contemplate and to a degree I wonder if an opportunity was missed to elevate our Brand in substitution of a path of least resistance and I thought I would share a few thoughts?
Firstly, our draw was already an uneven creature and COVID only exacerbated this element. Our 2021 draw was already a reduced version from any historic template of 9 home and 9 away games to an 8 home and 8 away game season. The loss of 2 further weeks will now see the draw reduced to become a 7 home and 7 away season (14 games) and there was a strong argument for not falling to reduced format when a window existed to leave that element of our draw intact.
Yes, extending the season out 2 weeks would have created a new Grand final date but with that proposed change came a level of excitement, opportunity and some risk. I am a half glass full kind of guy and I believe this was an opportunity in a crazy mixed up year to try something different and find out if this could possibly be a pillar of strength for our league in future years, but that view is not shared by all. In my eyes any pain could have answered many future sustainability questions.
Regardless of the 2021 decision if our league desires to return to a 9 home and 9 away scheduling fixture in future years then we need to find more weeks in the footy calendar to rollout any such combination and that means either starting the season earlier, maybe losing the general bye on Queens Birthday weekend and the possibly finishing later. Should a later finish be inevitable then again adopting a 2021 extended season option would have presented an opportunity to answer some questions in preparation for future years and the challenges of scheduling.
I think it is also important to highlight that many supported a theory that if option one was chosen it would allow a buffer to extend the season should we have another COVID lockdown happen. Well, I simply do not subscribe to that rationale or theory. In my eyes should that happen then our season is basically over.
Based on the history of Victoria’s 4 previous lockdowns the relaxation of restrictions by higher authorities would not be quick enough to allow our competition to move into a finals phase. Even as I write this report, we are approx. 6 weeks since lockdown 4 was imposed on Victorians and yet even today we can only have 1000 patrons at venues. Why would anyone think that should another lockdown be imposed that a 2 week buffer would be suffice a plan B strategy as we enter into a final’s series. Our league requires patronage of approx. 1500 for minor finals and upwards of 4000 for our grand final let alone thinking about social distancing compliance?
Whilst I could raise a number of others issues in any forward planning space such as the possible inclusion of an additional team into the NGFNL in the future, or some level of a weighted fixture after all clubs have played each other once and maybe an extended finals series or the extended number of participating teams in a finals series have elements of creating a vibrant future for the league the bottom line will always remain that any structural amendment within our league must come with due process, the freedom of debate and democratic principles applying thereafter.
A further element of interest in this space has been the questioning of where our 2021 Grand Final be held given the recent floods in Traralgon? We have had a few discussions with Latrobe City and they are hoping games will resume back at the Traralgon Rec reserve by Mid July and that their insurance inspections and claim applications are progressing well. A number of capital and rebuild projects are about to commence if not already commenced such as works to player change rooms the Canteen, Bar and Netball pavilion.
From a playing surface perspective, they will also need the weather gods to provide them with a little of latitude, grace and forbearance. Despite the unsightly brown tinge across the surface given time and good drainage there is an expectation games will return on or around the date mentioned above. That being said any adverse weather may delay or protract that timeline.
This report is written on Mondays so unfortunately, I cannot share any results but our Under 18 interleague team played in Morwell on Wednesday the 30th of June. I have no doubt these young men would have represented our League with a degree of pride and credibility regardless of any result. I would like to thank Coaches Daniel Missen and Heath Fox for their dedication, leadership and inspiration to these young men. Team Manager Todd Parnell has attended to this this thankless role for a number of years and we should all thank him for his support. Trainers, timekeepers, water people, runner and parents are all to be thanked and acknowledged. Well done everyone for representing our Brand on this important date on the football calendar.
Gormandale host Cowwarr today and both clubs would love to celebrate a win however unless there is draw I suspect there can only be one winner when the final siren sounds. Not by choice but I have not had the opportunity to visit the home of the Tigers thus far this season but know they will be working hard on and off the field to have their club represented in the highest possible light and accordingly I wish them well. The Saints on the other hand will have trained hard this week in the hope of securing 4 points. In my eyes the Saints were a little unlucky to be on the wrong end of the stick last week against Sale City as they had opportunities to win but did not take them. Maybe this week it will be a different story. Regardless I trust a good day is had by all.
In other games the Roo’s will host the boys from YYN who are taking all before them in recent weeks. It is hard to see the Roo’s stopping the Bombers charge to the finals but one should never underestimate any team called Heyfield.
Rosedale will host the Pies and I think this could be a competitive match albeit the Blues are hard to beat home. Having said that the Pies will turn up holding no fear in their belly and with a solid victory under their belt last week.
The Doggies will take on TTU who will be fresh from last weeks bye. If the Doggies are thinking finals, they simply must win. On the other hand TTU must claim another scalp to be considered a genuine threat otherwise they could easily end up in the also ran category.
Finally, the Cats will host the Cougars. The Cats will be looking to put to bed some historic results and show to all and sundry there is a genuine reason for their 2021 ladder position, however, the Cougars will be looking for a few list inclusions and know they will need to be at their best today if they intend to depart the Cattery with 4 points in the bank.
Play hard but play fair and speak soon.
David J Kyle – President.
One of North Gippsland football and netball’s most quintessential traditions will be renewed this weekend when Glengarry and Gormandale contest the Keith Lang-Bill Onley Cup.
Established in 2010 in place of a sponsored annual trophy of 25 years, the occasion celebrates one of the league’s oldest rivalries and acknowledges the contribution of two great individuals and their families to the league and their respective clubs.
Lang was a premiership player with the Magpies in 1929 and 1930, a league best and fairest in 1935 and spent 45 years on the Glengarry committee, where he also filled the role of president, and served more than four decades as time keeper.
Onley was himself a dual premiership player, helping Gormandale to the 1946 and 1954 flags, and also a league best and fairest in 1949, before providing many years of service to the Tigers as a trainer, boot studder, club office bearer and fundraiser.
Both men are life members of their clubs and have had many family members follow in their footsteps and represent the clubs on the football field and netball court over the years.
Lang’s daughter Gwenda King – herself a Glengarry life member – credited fellow Magpies great John Brady with the initial idea for the Lang-Onley Cup, and said its enduring legacy could be found among its origins as a Mother’s Day event.
“Back then the league were trying to promote getting more family orientated and John thought this would be great as something different,” King said.
“To get a game on the Sunday and on Mother’s Day wasn’t so easy because people said ‘oh you’re not going to get people coming on Mother’s Day’ and ‘people aren’t going to want to come on a Sunday’.
“It took a bit initially to promote it and get it going but the league said ‘we’ll give it a go’ and it ended up being a really good trailblazer for North Gippy.
“It’s a family friendly day and we try to make it that because it’s family history both clubs are talking about.”
As with all of the league’s planned activities, the cup was unable to go ahead last year due to the covid pandemic.
Adding to the already anticipated return is the prospect that it could also be the last time these particular greats are honoured in this way.
While a final decision on the future of the cup is yet to be made by the clubs, King said a rebrand as per the original plan would be fitting of the spirit in which is was formed.
“It was meant to go for 10 years and I think taking covid out of it, this would possibly be the last year,” she said.
“I know how much it has meant to us and we were very lucky that [when it started] Mr and Mrs Onley were still alive whereas my mum and dad weren’t so it was very special to them when they met up with us – me and my three brothers and our family – and it created a really good connection.
“Both families would go out at the end of the game and present the Bill Onley Medal and the Keith Lang Medal and I could see other families that are due that same sort of acknowledgement and would enjoy that acknowledgement of their history in the clubs.”
While it’s unlikely any Lang or Onley descendants will be taking the field or court this year, King and her brothers Ian and Peter Lang, and Onley’s granddaughter Ellen Sykes (Jennings) – also a life member of the Tigers – are understood to be available to present the medals on the day.
The Keith Lang-Bill Onley Cup will be played at Glengarry Recreation Reserve this Saturday, with games commencing at 9:00am.
This weekend Yallourn-Yallourn North’s Premiership winning playing coach Barrie Burnett will break the club’s playing record as he plays game 320 for the club against Gornamdale.
Barrie passed the 300 game milestone in May 2019. In doing so joined a select group of players who played 300 senior games in the club’s history. And against the tigers, he will pass the previous record of 319 games held by Wayne Paulet, who is currently an Assistant Coach of the senior team.
Barrie has played all his football at YYNFNC. Starting in the U/11’s as a six-year old and making his senior debut at 18. He has become a great leader at the club and was instrumental in both the Senior and Reserves Premiership wins in Mid Gippsland Football League in 2019.
In a recent article in The Weekly Times, he spoke about how the role of senior coach now goes beyond football.
“You are not just a senior coach anymore; you’re pretty much everything. You’ve got to deal with all these young people and try to help them along the journey, and probably the most rewarding part is seeing them not just succeed playing football, but seeing their successes off the field as well seeing these young boys become men.”
In the same article, he also commented on the challenges faced by players and the club having year-long lay-off last year due to coronavirus restrictions.
“It was about just trying to keep the positivity with all players, and keeping them engaged and about their well-being,” he said. “We’ve got through it, and hopefully, we don’t have to go too long through this little period at the moment”.
Senior club officials have spoken of how Barrie has become a great leader within the club, having tremendous respect by all the players, club executive, committee, members and supporters. All of whom all wish Barrie congratulation for this fantastic effort he has achieved at YYNFNC.