By Sam Watson
ON TUESDAY, the Gippsland League announced the 2021 finals venues and Wonthaggi has scored its first Gippsland League final since joining the league in 2010.
Wonthaggi will host the qualifying final on August 28, which their senior side looks likely to compete in.
If they aren’t in that game, it’ll likely be because they’ve finished on top of the ladder, which will see another final played at Wonthaggi.
In 2019, the club presidents in the Gippsland League decided the senior side that finished on top of the ladder would secure home ground advantage for the second semi-final.
That will be in place again for 2021, but Leongatha look set to secure it, currently on top of the ladder with a very healthy percentage.
The grand final will be held in Moe at the Ted Summerton Reserve.
AFL Gippsland regional manager Nic Fogarty said the clubs in the league wanted to make sure finals were played in the east and the west, not just in Morwell, Moe and Traralgon.
“We wanted to give Wonthaggi an opportunity given their facilities are fantastic and they can certainly support hosting a final,” Fogarty said.
Wonthaggi president Peter Liddle said he and the club are very happy with the result and he said the work they’ve done over the four years is what got it over the line.
“There’s a hell of a lot we’ve done around the place,” Liddle said.
“And the way Darren Green and the council keep the ground, it’s as good as any in the competition and the facilities are just as good.
“As a club, we’re wrapped with the netball and the football facilities, it’s really good.”
And he was also happy with the decision to give the minor premier home ground advantage in the second semi-final.
“It might be us yet, we could get two finals,” Liddle said.
“But Leongatha are in the box seat.”
Gippsland League 2021 Finals Series
Qualifying final, August 28 – Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve.
Elimination final, August 29 – Morwell Recreation Reserve.
Second semi-final, September 4 – TBC (minor premier).
First semi-final, September 5 – Maffra Recreation Reserve.
Preliminary final, September 11 – Morwell Recreation Reserve.
Grand final, September 18 – Ted Summerton Reserve (Moe).