Local Footy: Rain takes toll on country footy finals

There’s a legend in north-west Tasmania that conditions for a match at Forth were so wet that the Forth River broke its banks and fish began swimming between the goal umpire’s legs.

Conditions were almost that wet in nearby Launceston on Saturday, when one team in the Northern Tasmanian Football Association’s second-division grand final failed to score. Old Scotch defeated Fingal Valley 9.14 (68) to 0.0 (0)—even though the match was played at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium, which a few years ago was described as having the best surface in Australia.

In Victoria, it rained so hard over the weekend that four senior leagues and four junior leagues postponed finals. Of those that played, Federals failed to kick a goal in the Upper Murray league grand final. Bullioh defeated the Feds 6.4 (40) to 0.4 (4) at the Bullioh ground.

Scores were also low in the nearby Ovens and Murray league, where Albury, the club considered the best in country footy at the moment, won its second semi-final at the Wodonga Raiders’ ground despite kicking only three goals. Albury defeated Yarrawonga 3.11 (29) to 2.6 (18).

The ground of another Ovens and Murray club, Myrtleford, was completely under water on Sunday, while three grounds in Benalla were under water. The ovals around Bendigo and Maryborough were also hit hard by the deluge of rain.

The Upper Murray league is based at Corryong, which is about 420 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. Federals share the Corryong Showgrounds oval with the Corryong footy club. Bullioh is 80 kilometres back towards Wodonga.

Federals president Rod Scammell was alarmed when asked before Saturday’s grand final whether the game should be postponed. “I said, ‘No, you can’t do that’,” Scammell said. “’You can’t call it off’.”

Scammell has no regrets about the decision to go ahead even though his team failed to kick a goal. The Feds’ best chance was when one of their players had a set shot from 20 metres out. The kick slobbered straight to the man on the mark, who grabbed the ball and booted it out of danger.

“I’ve never seen wetter conditions on a footy field,” Scammell said.

Saturday’s second semi-final in the Ovens and Murray league was not a portent of Sunday’s first semi, which was held at Albury’s ground in reasonable conditions. North Albury’s Damian Cupido, the former Brisbane and Essendon player, kicked 10 goals in the Grasshoppers’ victory over Wodonga Raiders.

An interesting development from the handful of postponed finals is that two leagues—the Bendigo league and the Maryborough and Castlemaine league—will play their grand finals the day after the AFL grand final. Ordinarily the Goulburn Valley league has this day to itself, but this is no ordinary year.


Senior Victorian competitions that have postponed finals

Lexton Plains FL

Grand final postponed until this Sunday (Lexton v Skipton at North Ballarat).

Maryborough and Castlemaine District FL

Semi-finals postponed until this Saturday (Maldon v Avoca at Dunolly) and Sunday (Maryborough Rovers v Carisbrook at Avoca).

Grand Final on Sunday, September 26.

Bendigo FL

Semi-finals postponed until this Saturday (South Bendigo v Maryborough at Golden Square) and Saturday evening (Golden Square v Eaglehawk at QEO, Bendigo).

Grand Final on Sunday, September 26.

Ovens and King FL

Second preliminary Final postponed until Saturday (Tarrawingee v Bonnie Doon at Wangaratta).

Grand Final on Saturday, September 18.


  1. Daff,

    I was talking to one of my 30 years ago premiership mates after the Old Scotch senior game. He had arrived at the ground about five minutes into the third quarter.

    At that time St Pats were three goals infront of Old Scotch, who were going for four straight flag.

    Scotch over ran St Pats who did not score again.

    The surface is still the best in Australia. Plenty of water but no mud or shifting surface.

    Blacky noted that he had been at the ground for almost six quarters and didn’t see the opposition score.

  2. Phantom,

    Whoops. Do I gather that it was Fingal Valley reserves, not seniors?

    Were you at Forth that day on which the fish swam between the goal umpire’s legs?

    Were you the goal umpire?

    I still reckon St Pat’s and Old Scotch (and Old Launcestonians and one or two others) should be playing in a revived Northern Tasmanian Amateurs comp.

    The winner of the Northern premiership could play the winner of the Old Scholars (what a funny old name) comp for the state amateur premiership.

    Who are the Ships in the Hobart comp? Great nickname.

    Now back to work …

  3. No you were right. It was St Pats reserves. My mistake.

    We used to have State premierships. I own a winners medal. Old Scotch ‘B’ Grade 1981.

    Don’t know about any ‘Ships’ in Hobart. When we played them we used to refer to them as simply s…s.

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