PUTTING supporter comfort ahead of home ground advantage, Southcity has reluctantly moved Saturday’s Group Nine minor semi-final away from Harris Park.
Despite having a formidable record at their suburban fortress, Southcity officials decided it was prudent to shift the knockout game against Young to Equex Centre.
Southcity president Rod Porter revealed incessant rain in Wagga had left a large section of the main spectator viewing area at Harris Park virtually unusable.
Although aware the venue switch is may “not sit well” with some Bulls fans, Porter said the decision was in the “best interests” of spectators and players alike.
“Obviously we get great support from the local community (near Harris Park), but it wouldn’t have been fair to play the game at the ground,” Porter said.
“We hope everyone understands the reason for the move, and goes along to support the team at Equex Centre.
”The decision to move from Harris Park certainly wasn’t taken lightly.”
Porter stressed concerns over the playing surface at Harris Park were also a key element in the across-town shift.
“Playing five games on the ground would have turned it into a mud bath (for players),” Porter said.
“Both sides will want the best possible surface to ensure an open and attractive game.”
Porter said the decision was made in consultation with Wagga City Council and Wagga Rugby League.
“Council has been very good about the whole thing,” Porter said.
“We went through the right process and the right channels.”
The Bulls president is adamant that the prediction of further “showers” before the weekend had been taken into consideration.
“No matter what, there isn’t going to be much drying weather,” he said.
“The last few days of rain left us with no alternative.”
For the Bulls, leaving Harris Park for Equex Centre, which has a well-drained surface and undercover seating, is sure to be regarded as a calculated gamble.
Over the past decade, Southcity has developed a fearsome reputation at its home base, which has a cauldron-like atmosphere.
Porter believes the team will not be seriously disadvantaged by playing at Equex Centre, particularly with a “faster” playing surface.
With expectations of a gate of $7000 at least, Southcity will retain catering and alcohol selling rights on Saturday.
“It’s still our home game,” Porter said.
After finishing third on the ladder, Southcity was guaranteed a “home final”, while Young misses out.
The Bulls were forced into the cut-throat clash with the Cherrpickers following a 24-22 loss to Junee last Sunday.
Southcity will retain the same team that lost to the Diesels for Saturday’s minor semi-final.
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