DENMARK-Walpole Football Club faces the rest of the Great Southern Football League season on the road, with the refurbished surface of the team’s home ground at McLean Park still not ready.
Shire of Denmark director of corporate and community services Cary Green said the shire’s eyes were on the prize of hosting this year’s GSFL grand final at McLean Park, rather than risk damaging the playing surface with a Magpies’ return too early.
“We always said we were going to take a conservative approach, to make sure that we get everything right,” Mr Green said.
An assessment by turf contractor Greenacres following a Magpies training run two weeks ago halted plans for the ground’s christening this weekend.
“The players said the ground felt a bit loose underfoot,” Mr Green said. “We don’t want to put them out there in a game situation and have them slipping and sliding, so Greenacres will reassess the situation in ten days’ time and let us know how it looks.”
Mr Green said that the oval’s improved drainage meant that fertilising through the irrigation system had not been as effective as hoped, so the surface was being sprayed to encourage root growth.
Magpies president Kim Barrow confirmed that Sunday’s game against Albany Sharks had been moved to Albany’s Centennial Stadium. He said that the club would decide this week whether to relocate its remaining home games.
A return to McLean Park for a scheduled match against North Albany on August 4 would probably occur only for reserves and league matches.
This would have the added inconvenience of losing boundary umpires and runners, who usually came from colts or under-16 sides but they would be playing away on that date.
It had been a ‘bugger’ of a season for the club, Mr Barrow said, with the loss of revenue from home games and fewer supporters willing to travel away. The club would be looking at options for compensation.
Mr Green said that despite the delay he was excited about having the GSFL grand final at McLean Park.
“We’ll be doing everything in our power to make sure the oval is in pristine condition,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase the facility, and the work of the shire and contractors.”