By Sam Watson

THE Dalyston Recreation Reserve is the new home of the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition grand final.

The decision comes after AFL Gippsland inspected clubs’ facilities on Monday.

Dalyston Recreation Reserve committee president Kelvin Simpson said he and the Dalyston Football Netball club are thrilled with the decision.

“The club is over the moon, we haven’t had many finals in the last 15 years but now that we’ve improved the ground, things are changing,” Simpson said.

And he said the recently upgraded facilities at Dalyston got the decision to fall their way.

“I think our facilities at the moment are probably the best in the league,” Simpson said.

“Other clubs are starting to improve their rooms and their grounds but at this point in time; I think we’ve actually got the best all round facilities.

“On the tender checklist, we scored every point, there wasn’t an area where we were lacking.

“For us, it was a no-brainer, but obviously there’s other factors that come into play, so you never know.

“But we thought we were a good shot, so we went for it.”

Since the West Gippsland made the decision official, there has been significant blowback on social media, with many asking why Garfield Recreation Reserve wasn’t chosen again.

Many consider Garfield to have the best football ground, which also includes ideal viewing areas.

The inaugural West Gippsland grand final was held at Wonthaggi in 2017, but Garfield has been the host in 2018 and 2019.

But Garfield president Chris Greenall said his club is fully supportive of Dalyston winning the rights to host the league’s biggest day.

And Simpson assured all the local footy and netball fans that it will be a great grand final.

“I just think we’re going to be able to turn on the event, we’ve got the bars, the outlets, the barbecues,” Simpson said.

“We’ve got the whole ground covered, there’s no areas in the ground where you can’t get facilities and we’ve got parking out the back so there’s more viewing space around the ground.”

Simpson also thanked the Bass Coast Shire Council for their support, along with the state government and Sport and Recreation Victoria.

And he said it was a good pay-off for the effort the recreation reserve committee and the football netball club has put into the ground.

“Both the rec reserve committee and the club have done a great job in getting it up to a standard where it meets the criteria for a grand final.”

Before the big day, scheduled for September 11, there are some small things the recreation reserve committee and club must do to make sure it’s a COVID-safe event.

Phillip Island, Inverloch Kongwak, Korumburra Bena, Cora Lynn, and Koo Wee Rup will also be putting COVID-safe plans in place as they have all been awarded other finals.

The league is hoping the current lockdown does not have any implications on the finals series, but more information will be available on that matter soon.

West Gippsland FNC 2021 Finals Series

Second Elimination Final, Saturday, August 21 – Cowes Recreation Reserve.

First Elimination Final, Sunday, August 22 – Inverloch Recreation Reserve.

Second Semi Final, Saturday, August 28 – Korumburra Showgrounds.

First Semi Final, Saturday, August 29 – Cora Lynn Recreation Reserve.

Preliminary Final, Saturday, September 4 – Koo Wee Rup Recreation Reserve.

Grand Final, Saturday, September 11 – Dalyston Recreation Reserve.

West Gippy releases final round fixture

By Sam Watson

ON Tuesday, the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition released its final round fixture.

But the current lockdown may mean there will be no games before the finals begin on August 21.

There is also concern finals may be impacted if the lockdown lasts longer than the state government has said it will.

Clubs in finals contention will be hoping the state comes out of lockdown on Friday and round 12 of the West Gippsland FNC seasons will be held on Saturday, August 14.

The final round isn’t necessary as everyone has played each other once, but the league will still aim to play if the state government allows it.

With the club’s decision to play just one round before finals, the league knew it would have to shuffle its original final round.

They needed to make sure clubs had an even amount of home games and also make sure clubs weren’t travelling to the same away ground twice.

Kilcunda Bass was scheduled to travel to Dalyston, but Kilcunda Bass were owed a home game.

Because Dalyston had already played at Bass, the league stopped them from travelling there and instead sent them to Korumburra.

West Gippsland operations manager Brandon Milburn said the home and away balance was the key concern and everything else fell into place.

“We had a bit of luck in terms of some teams that had a local rivalry, like Korumburra Bena and Dalyston,” Milburn said.

“There was nothing else that we really factored in outside of making sure that we got an even balance of home and away and give clubs the opportunity to generate revenue.”

The league and its clubs will know more about whether they’ll be returning to the field next week.

West Gippsland Round 12 fixture
* Warragul Industrials vs Garfield.
* Kilcunda Bass vs Tooradin Dalmore.
* Koo Wee Rup vs Bunyip.
* Korumburra Bena vs Dalyston.
* Nar Nar Goon vs Phillip Island.
* Cora Lynn vs Inverloch Kongwak.