Group Nine set to stick with its Saturday twilight grand final

Group Nine is set to stick with its Saturday twilight grand final.

In a change to tradition, this year’s decider was played under lights at Equex Centre.

The 5.30pm kick-off time was a talking point heading into the clash between Southcity and Gundagai, however Group Nine president Jack Morton was pleased with the response.

“I thought it was very good,” Morton said.

“We have a meeting next week to go over it, but I thought it was good and by all reports we had it was good.

“A couple of people said to maybe start an hour or half an hour earlier, but the gate was good.”

There was $32,347 paid through the gate on Saturday.

It was around $5000 up on last year’s rain affected grand final last year but on par with the 2015 decider between Gundagai and Junee.

Morton expects another twilight grand final will be penciled in for next season.

“We will talk about it at the annual general meeting, but as far as we are concerned it is the same time, same place,” he said.

“I think it is a shame to throw it out after one year especially as we haven't had any great knockers.

“Some people said it is too cold but that is just ridiculous.”

While the time zone was not a hit with fans who spoke to The Daily Advertiser, it did receive a tick of approval from the players. 

Gundagai captain-coach James Smart said he enjoyed playing during the later.

“From a players point of view we enjoyed it,” Smart said.

“A few people said there would be dew on the ground but their wasn’t.

“From the game standard point of view it certainly wasn’t affected – I thought it was high quality game.”

He thought it was better than playing during the usually warm 3pm timeslot.

While departing Southcity captain-coach Nick Skinner remains a fan of playing during the day, he was surprised by how little the later timeslot affected the team’s performance.

“I thought it worked out all right,” Skinner said.

“Obviously we won so I’m complaining too much about anything.

“I thought it might have made it a bit more dewy than what it actually was.

“I thought it might have made the conditions a bit more slippery but it actually wasn’t too bad.”

Morton believes the Saturday timeslot also works as it benefits after match sponsors.