Ovens and Murray backs Saturday grand final to be a success

The Ovens and Murray believes there is scope to improve on this year's grand final crowd.
The Ovens and Murray believes there is scope to improve on this year's grand final crowd.

THE Ovens and Murray has backed Saturday grand final football to bounce back from this year’s modest start.

Despite only 6425 people attending the first Saturday premiership decider since 1980, officials believe it was a step in the right direction and have locked in September 22 on next season’s fixture.

”We’re keen to continue,” league general manager Sean Barrett said.

“I think it’s a better opportunity to build a strong crowd, particularly with no other local football on the day.

“It’s makes for a good weekend of football with the Goulburn Valley the following day.

“We didn’t get any negative feedback about the Saturday grand final.

“Last year was an improvement on the year before when the bad weather hit and I think there is optimism among the clubs particularly with Wangaratta doing so well.”

The crowd for year’s clash between Wangaratta and Albury was up 2300 on the previous season when the Tigers hammered Lavington in atrocious conditions.

Officials had hoped for between 7000 and 8000.

Meanwhile, Lavington and Wodonga will kick off the 2018 season under lights at Lavington Sportsground on Good Friday.

In a potential financial windfall for Yarrawonga, the Pigeons will take on rivals Albury on Easter Sunday at Mulwala’s Lonsdale Oval with officials hoping retired Geelong star Tom Lonergan will make a cameo appearance.

Wangaratta will unfurl its premiership flag against Lavington in round two while the Magpies and Albury will clash in a grand final replay at Albury Sportsground in round three.

Corowa-Rutherglen has lost its traditional Easter Saturday match and will instead travel to W.J. Findlay Oval to play Wangaratta Rovers.

Barrett said the draw offered “wins” for the 10 clubs.

“It’s important to provide a fixture that offers positives for every club and I’m confident we’ve been able to deliver that,” he said.

“It’s a challenging process developing the fixture, there’s a number of drafts produced and scrutinised heavily to achieve the final result and we try to satisfy as many requests as we can.”

Barrett said the league was pleased to avoid clashes with the two Wangaratta the Wodonga teams playing at home on the same weekend