Cage fight to bring in cash for North Albury: Mark Cronin

NORTH Albury Football-Netball Club is banking on a timely financial boost from its involvement in a cage fighting event which has been locked in for May 17 at Bunton Park.

The cash-strapped Hoppers are teaming up with the Australian Fighting Championships to host the ninth event of the series.

It will also be the first held in a cage which overcomes a recent ban imposed in Victoria.

Club president Mark Cronin said the potential windfall was too tempting for the Hoppers who revealed debts of $123,000 including an unpaid player payments bill of $70,000 earlier this year.

“The over-riding reason is it is an opportunity that we believe we would be derelict in our duty to our members and supporters not to explore,” he said.

“By opportunity I mean a financial opportunity.

“I’m told it has a support base and I’m told the promoters are confident they will attract a good crowd.

“If it proceeds smoothly and provides a benefit for promoters and benefits for the football club of course we would look for an ongoing involvement.”

The Hoppers committee met on Wednesday to consider the offer to co-stage the event with fight promoters who visited Bunton Park the previous day.

Mr Cronin also downplayed the effect on the club’s football teams.

“The committee was unanimous in its support of the event,” he said.

“There is no certainty they will be off the ground for a week in the lead-up.

“The mechanics of the set-up as I understand will be the erection of a marquee which will happen the day before the event.

“It won’t impact on the footballers to any large extent or at all.

“It will then be taken down the next day.”

The Hoppers play an away game on May 17 and a bye is scheduled in the Ovens and Murray league the following weekend.

Promoter Adam Milankovic confirmed the AFC and Hoppers would split the proceeds from the event.

“The guys up there are just a good fit for us,” he said.

“The facilities are right and they can see what we want to do.

“It is basically a joint venture.”

He expected the event to be sold out beforehand with a tickets to be on sale from as early as today.

They will cost $80 general admission, $120 to $150 ringside and a still to be confirmed student concession.

“We have kids aged 12, 13 and 14 come to our shows in Melbourne,” Mr Milankovic said.

“It is widely watched by kids all around the world.

“Our fans are all around Australia.

“People will come from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide and bring revenue to Albury.”