Grand final clashes a dampener on 2018 fixture

THE AFL Central Victoria calendar for 2018 has been set with the release of fixtures for the four senior competitions.

The Heathcote District league will be the first to get under way on Saturday, April 7, with the highlight round one match-up the grand final rematch between Leitchville-Gunbower and North Bendigo.

Saturday, April 7 will provide the entree to the main course when the region’s other three leagues all kick off on April 14 – Bendigo, Loddon Valley and North Central.

However, it’s unfortunate that the release of the final fixture – North Central – revealed there will be a grand final clash.

Football and netball fans in the region have had the opportunity over the past three seasons to attend all four senior league grand finals, which have been scheduled on separate weekends.

Next year, though, there’s only three weekends of grand finals, with the biggest days on the Loddon Valley and North Central calendar set to clash on September 15. 

That day will also coincide with the Bendigo league preliminary final, which is planned to continue with its 3pm starting time for the senior game at the QEO.

Not to mention the Maryborough-Castlemaine District league grand final at Princes Park is also on that same stacked day.

Which poses the question of given such a hectic Saturday, would the Loddon Valley or North Central leagues be open to at least discussing switching their showcase day to the Sunday in a bid to try to maximise attendance and get some clear air?

Clearly Saturday is the preferred option, and while it may not be the same as having a grand final weekend to themselves, having a stand-alone day on the Sunday at least gives one of those leagues the chance to command the spotlight that such an occasion deserves and we as footy-netball fans have come to enjoy in recent years.