Good idea, bad timing for HFNL Good Friday match

GOOD Friday football has been bumped from the Hampden league’s 2013 fixture but a third Anzac Day game is now on the agenda.

The Hampden Football Netball League yesterday finalised its draw for the first season of its expanded competition. 

The 10-team league will kick off on April 13 with Warrnambool unfurling its premiership flag against fierce rival Koroit at Reid Oval.

That match alone will have significant interest, with Koroit’s new coach Adam Dowie pitted against the club he took to the 2010 flag, which is coached by his former Blues assistant Scott Carter. 

New teams Hamilton Kangaroos and Portland will mark their debuts with home games — the Tigers welcoming Port Fairy. The Kangaroos host 2012 runner-up Cobden in a Sunday blockbuster.

A key feature of the draw is three games on Anzac Day, Thursday April 25, in three separate centres. 

South Warrnambool plays Koroit at Friendly Societies’ Park in Warrnambool, arch-rivals Camperdown and Cobden are drawn to clash at Camperdown’s Leura Oval and in a significant development, the Kangaroos and Tigers would meet at Melville Oval, Hamilton.

HFNL chief executive Mike Farrow said the addition of a Kangaroos/Tigers clash on Anzac Day was only a “possibility” at this stage but had been included on the draw for planning purposes, subject to confirmation.

He said a planned Good Friday match between Terang Mortlake and Cobden had been axed just days after it was included in a draft fixture. 

He said the participating clubs had opted against the March 29 match because it was 15 days before the start of the season. 

That match had been rescheduled from round seven on June 1, when the clubs would have had a bye. 

But Farrow said the plan had come unstuck when coaches from both clubs realised they would have had a bye the week before for Hampden’s interleague showdown with Sunraysia at a yet-to-be confirmed venue on either May 25 or 26.

Playing one match and then having a two-week break and then a second two-week break, all before the middle of June, was far from ideal for both clubs, Farrow said.

A quirk of the fixture sees all three Warrnambool-based teams play at home on the same day in rounds five and 13 and each play away on the same day in rounds four, 12 and 14. 

That means there will be three Saturdays where there will be no major league football in the region’s biggest population centre — Warrnambool — and a feast on two other Saturdays.

The draw includes three stand-alone Sunday games, with Hamilton involved in all three. Port Fairy and the Kangaroos will play two Sunday matches, with the first at the Gardens Oval in round two, followed by a return encounter in round 11.

Cobden will again hold two matches under lights.

The league has maintained its mid-season bye during the term two school holidays, with finals starting on August 31 and finishing on September 21.

grbest@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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