Opinion

Why can’t we watch both?

by
September 14, 2017

The Mangan family will be hovering between the football and netball on Goulburn Valley League grand final day with siblings Ash and Brad taking part in the top tier finals.

Giving the A-grade grand final an earlier start time would allow supporters and Ash Mangan's family to watch her and brother Brad's grand final matches.

Most clubs pride themselves on being family institutions where everyone supports their clubmates and wants to cheer on all players across both sports and divisions.

With Kyabram’s senior football team and A-grade netball team already locked in to play on Goulburn Valley League grand final day, and Shepparton also going strong across both sports, there will be plenty with eager eyes on the netball court and the football field at Deakin Reserve.

Double-ups happen across the grades as Shepparton United is also fighting for a grand final spot in B-grade netball and reserves football on Sunday.

With many devoted club followers having more than one family member or friend to watch in different divisions, the A-grade and senior football matches should have different time slots to allow people to watch both.

The GVL’s senior netball and football grades begin at 2.30pm on the biggest day of the year.

Having covered footy and netball all year, it was a shame last season to not be able to witness the full extent of Kyabram’s record breaking premiership after already witnessing a stirling Bombers win in the netball.

Many people would be in the same position of wanting to watch both, with staggered start times also encouraging bigger crowds for both sports.

Of course many spectators head in just to watch either sport, but devoted club people tend to hover between both.

At half-time of the senior football every week there are always plenty of fans that filter over to the netball.

It is the same across leagues in the region where you can only watch a half of the football if you tune into the netball, when a full game of at least the top grade should be a possibility.

The GVL has the luxury of being able to make its A-grade final start much earlier than the football, with an hour break between the B-grade and A-grade contests.

While B-grade starts at 12.15pm, A-grade is not scheduled until 2.30pm, with the whistle sounding the same moment the opening ball of the footy is bounced.

The gap between the matches allows the senior netballers and footballers to line up side-by-side on the oval for the national anthem.

While it adds to the anticipation of the game, it interrupts the flow of the netball grand finals.

The lack of seats around the Deakin Reserve netball courts also does not help the situation.

Like diehard music fans wanting to be front row in a mosh pit by holding their ground during warm-up bands, spectators are forced to sit through a pause in the action in order to reserve their seats by the court.

On a regular Saturday the GVL netball match concludes during the third quarter of the football.

It is not as big an issue during the season, but being able to watch the most important game of the year across both sports would be ideal.

But with the later start and the presentations, the football is nearly finished for the afternoon once the excitement concludes for the day on the netball courts.

Siblings Ash and Brad Mangan will again play at the same time as will husband and wife Josh and Steph Vick and partners Lachie Smith and Elle Groves, with all six playing crucial roles at Kyabram.

Each member of the duos as well as their families would relish the opportunity to support both players.

While the opportunity would be present this year, it is unlikely the hour gap will remain next season with the GVL 15-and-under competition to come in.

But the consideration would be much appreciated by fans of both sports across the region.

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