WITH Denmark’s McLean Oval currently a colossal sandpit, Walpole will be the winner with the Magpies footy club set to play its second and fourth home games of 2019 across the Manjimup shire border.
“We’re looking to play at least those games, against the Albany clubs, out at Walpole,” Denmark-Walpole Magpies club president Kim Barrow told The Voice of the South.
“Our first home game, in Round 3, will be played at Mount Barker, and our third home game in Round 6 is likely to be played in Albany.”
Barrow said the Albany clubs had verbally agreed to play Denmark-Walpole’s Rounds 5 and 7 home games – against Railways on May 25 and North Albany on June 8 – in Walpole.
He said Denmark-Walpole learned of delays to the oval’s resurfacing about six weeks ago. The holdup is mainly due to Shire contractors hitting rock in the middle of the oval.
Barrow said the Magpies hoped to return to McLean Oval for their Round 9 home game, on June 29 against Royals.
“It all depends on rainfall, whether the grass takes once they put it down, whether it gets too wet and cold and we can’t play on it,” he said.
As a makeshift measure, the Magpies have made a temporary training nest at Denmark Senior High School on the other side of South Coast Highway from McLean Oval.
“That’s so far removed from the club rooms,” Barrow lamented.
“So, it’s not as easy to go back to the club rooms after training and have a beer and a meal on a Thursday night.
“We’re going to still try and do that, but whether we get the support or not, I don’t know.”
The Magpies will procure portable lighting towers to ensure players can see at the high school ground as the nights get longer.
“Finance-wise, we’ll call out for support from sponsors who will get no signage at the oval for this year, I’d say,” Barrow said.
“Hopefully the sponsors will still back us and appreciate the problems we’re facing.”
He was philosophical about delays to the million-dollar upgrade of the oval precinct.
“In the long-run it will be a good facility,” he said.
“We’re disappointed but we probably have to wear a bit of short-term pain for some long-term gain.
“Generally, Walpole supports us well, and I guess it’s a big deal for them if everyone heads over there for a game.”
Barrow reckoned the club had not played a League game in Walpole since about 2000.
He called on sponsors and supporters to get behind the nomadic Magpies on their 2019 flap across the State’s south coast.