THE City of Good Sports has not been doing itself any favours of late.
It is no secret nearly every person in Wagga – be they eight, 80, male, female, tall, short –loves their sport.
We love cricket, football, league, union, soccer, ping pong, darts and we certainly love our lawn bowls.
As a city of genuine sport enthusiasts, I feel we should be given every possible chance to enjoy our sport – all our sports –as often as possible.
As an Australian football player and fan, I would like to go along to watch the Riverina Football League grand final on September 23 next year.
As a rugby league fan I would like to watch the Group Nine grand final next year, and as a soccer fan I would like to also watch the Football Wagga decider in 2012.
Uh oh ... this is where we become stuck.
Unless I can successfully clone two more Simon Brunsdons between now and then, I will not be able to watch all three grand finals on September 23.
If someone can help me out with this cloning process please give me a call, but for now I am content to have a whinge.
Wagga is supposedly still the City of Good Sports, but it seems to me all we are doing is shooting ourselves in the foot.
Good sports does not necessarily have to mean Wagga continues to churn out professional AFL, NRL and soccer players for as long as it lives.
No, good sports also implies a harmonious, inviting smorgasbord of sports to enjoy in the city.
By this I mean all the sporting codes in Wagga should work together to best cater for the wants and needs of the community.
Imagine being new to the city and finding out three of Wagga’s biggest sport leagues all play their grand finals on the same day.
You would feel as though you have to choose one code and stick to it, and wouldn’t feel comfortable supporting both the RFL and Football Wagga.
All three leagues have come out and said they will not be changing the grand final date, but why not?
There was uproar in Wagga when it was revealed the RFL and Group Nine would be sharing the date this year.
Both leagues received respectable gates from the grand finals, and both said they were happy with the crowd.
But there is no doubt in my mind – and surely none in theirs either – that both games would have generated a significantly higher gate if they were on different days.
I know I would have gone to both, and I also know I’m not the only one in Wagga who would have.
Instead I was forced to travel to Narrandera for the RFL and get live score updates from the Group Nine throughout the day.
Not really the same, is it?
I don’t want to stir the pot, but it is obvious AFL Riverina and Group Nine are engaged in some sort of code war.
It is sad that they feel they have to fight this war, as that is the word from above.
They may not realise, but there is only a code war in Wagga if they make one.
No Australian football player or rugby league player I know in Wagga has anything against the other code.
In fact, most people I know would happily sit down and watch a Farrer League or RFL game on Saturday and go along to a Group Nine on Sunday.
It’s just the nature of Wagga’s sporting public.
Like I said before, we will watch any sport if given the opportunity.
Who cares if a good league player leaves Southcity to go and play with Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka in the RFL?
It has nothing to do with favouring one sport over the other, or “poaching” each other’s talent crop.
It isn’t the players or clubs of each code causing the trouble, it is the administrators.
AFL Riverina and Group Nine need to sit down in a room, leave their stubbornness at the door, and attempt to meet each other half way.
And to make matters worse Football Wagga has jumped on the bandwagon and is now making grand final day a trifecta in Wagga – soccer, footy and league.
Again I ask the question, why?
Football Wagga executive officer Donna Baker’s answer was she had no idea the other two grand finals were on September 23.
That is exactly where the problem lies.
No sporting group in Wagga would have any idea what the other was up to because they think they are not related in any way.
But let me tell you they are not doing themselves, the city of Wagga, or its public any favours by continuing in their selfish ways.
All three leagues – along with SIRU, hockey, water polo and any other winter sport – should have a meeting each year when their respective seasons are finished, and plan their calendars so the finals do not clash.
It shouldn’t be that difficult.
At the moment it is all take and no give, and Wagga is the one who suffers.