New Ovens and Murray league chief Sean Barrett hits the ground running

OFF TO THE BIG DANCE: Ovens and Murray general manager Sean Barrett is looking forward to his first grand final. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE.

OFF TO THE BIG DANCE: Ovens and Murray general manager Sean Barrett is looking forward to his first grand final. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE.

IT’S been a “baptism by fire” and Sean Barrett is hoping it’s not washed out by rain.

The new Ovens and Murray general manager is confident a crowd of up to 10,000 will attend Sunday’s grand final despite the prospect of wet weather and Albury competing in its eighth straight decider.

Barrett, who took over from Aaron McGlynn just over a month ago, has already overseen a finals series and Morris Medal in a whirlwind introduction to the role.

A crowd of 10,022 attended last year’s decider between Albury and Lavington.

Rain is predicted across the weekend but Barrett is confident of a strong turnout despite four of the league’s 10 clubs not being represented on grand final day.

“It will be interesting to see but they’ve achieved a great crowd with Albury in the past,” he said.

“They’ve been a success, not just this year, but over a number of years now.

“They’ve drawn a great crowd in the past and they’ve got some fantastic footballers that will make a great spectacle for a grand final. If you look back two weeks, it was very evenly poised in their second semi-final and I think Sunday shapes as another great contest.

“My focus hasn’t been too much on the weather or the forecast, it’s about making sure what we do on grand final day is done well and we give the people a good reason to attend.

“With my experience working in events in the past, in tennis and racing, weather can have a big impact on that sort of thing but you soon learn that the weather is outside your control.”

For the second year in a row, Lavington will wear its predominantly black strip against the Tigers.

But the Panthers will be forced to the away rooms at their home ground with the Tigers getting first preference after taking the early passage into the grand final.

Barrett said he had found grand final week easier to navigate than the seven days prior, which included the Morris Medal and preliminary final.

“Everyone probably thinks this week is the busiest week leading into the grand final but a lot of your preparation happens before this week,” he said.

“I probably found last week was the most hectic, we still had a prelim final to organise, but you’re also really gearing up for the Morris Medal, which is fantastic.

“It was a baptism by fire but you get to come in and experience it all now and then take a step back at the end of the season and review each event. It’s been great so far, I’ve loved every minute of it and I’ve had some fantastic support both from (operations manager) Greg Dawson and the board and also Aaron helping out.”

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