THE Mininera and District Football League and Mininera Netball Association have agreed to finals venues for the 2022 season. The grand final will be hosted at Glenthompson on Saturday, September 10, with Great Western allocated to host the bar on the day. Other finals venues include:
The leagues advised it was "always a tricky job to set venues with consideration of which club is due for a final whilst juggling where teams are on ladders".
Mininera chairman Dale Bruns said it was a hard process to manage finals venues to make it fair for everyone.
"With 12 teams six teams each year are eligible for a final," he said. "It obviously has been a funny couple of years with COVID and finals series interrupted. The league looked at who was eligible for a final last season when planning."
One club to miss out on hosting a final was the Ararat Eagles, a team that has been subjected to two home-game forfeits in the 2022 season.
Due to COVID-19 outbreaks, Hawkesdale Macarthur forfeited to the Eagles in round five on May 21 while Caramut were forced to advise its senior and reserves team could not play against the Ararat-based club in round 13 on July 23. Woorndoo Mortlake also forfeited against Tatyoon in round five on May 21.
As a result of the forfeit, the Ararat Eagles has only hosted six home games of a possible 16 games. Tatyoon has hosted seven. Glenthompson Dunkeld has hosted eight games in the home and away season and also the grand final to come. Bruns said it was unfortunate the forfeited games were on Ararat Eagles home game but the league looked at the long term issues surrounding COVID-19.
"We could be in a position again next year if we were to change the way finals are divided out to make up for forfeits next year we could be in a bit of trouble," he said. "No one knows what is around the corner so we decided to stick to who's turn it is to make it fair an equitable."
In 2022 the Eagles are flying - the senior team sitting on top of the ladder undefeated.
For the first time in the club's history, five teams will be appearing in the finals.
It's a far cry from where the club was in 2019 - on the brink of recession due to a decline in playing numbers.
President Nats McRoberts said despite the disappointment of not securing a finals venue, the club was looking toward finishing off the season strong and putting their efforts into playing in the finals series.
"Given the circumstances of the forfeits it's disappointing we have missed out on a final in 2022," he said. "We have some of the best facilities, if not the best, in the league. Financially, we've taken a hit this season. While we understand and have supported the opposition clubs with the forfeits due to COVID we are disappointed that we will still be dealing with the impacts of these for the remainder of the season with no possible way of recouping any of the financial loss the club has faced. As a club, we were really disappointed with the decision but we will not let this put a dampener on what has been a great season for us and will continue to be."
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