Two grand finals in a week is one too many

MANNING Hockey Association president Frank Biekefeld concedes playing the Manning men’s A-grade grand final a week after the Mid North Coast Premier League grand final needs to be reviewed.

The two sides that played in last Saturday’s premier league grand final, Tigers and Chatham, will front up again tomorrow evening for the Manning decider.

Playing two grand finals has been the format since premier league was formed in 1998. However, Tigers coach Tony Lewis said in Wednesday’s Inside Sport column that he intends to raise the matter with the association, saying it is difficult for players to lift for two grand finals in a week. Tigers won last week’s game 2-1.

Mr Birkefeld said this is a legitimate complaint. His son, Adam, was a member of the beaten Chatham team last weekend.

“Last Saturday’s grand final was among the best and most skilful games I’ve seen around here,’’ he said.

“Now the same two sides will have to motivate themselves to go around again just a week later.’’

Mr Birkefeld said the reason for playing a Manning grand final is to maintain the tradition that started back in 1957.

“It’s great to look at that honour board and look at all those Manning premiers from over the years,’’ he said.

Playing a men’s A-grade grand final on the association’s grand final day is another consideration.

There are two Port Macquarie clubs in the premier league and if one of them qualified for the grand final first, then they would have the right to play the match at Port Macquarie. The grand final could also one day involve both Port Macquarie clubs.

“That’s something we need to discuss with Port Macquarie,’’ Mr Birkefeld said.

In recent seasons the two leading sides have been from the Manning.

There are three Manning sides in the premier league. 

Currently the team finishing the higher on the ladder goes through to the local grand final, with the other two playing off for the other spot. Mr Birkefeld said that can lead to an anomaly.

“We could get a case where the side finishing third hasn’t won a game all year, but plays out of their skin in the final to make the grand final and then wins that,’’ he said.

“So a side win the premiership by winning just two games all year.’’

Meanwhile Mr Birkefeld believes Wingham Hockey Club will soon be in a position to nominate for the premier league going on the club’s progress in recent seasons.

“They have some promising young players up there and a few older hard heads,’’ he said.

“I don’t think it will be long before they’ll be playing in the premier league. The club is well represented in this weekend’s grand finals in the men’s and women’s grades.’’

He understands players with experience in Newcastle and Sydney could be returning to Gloucester, making a bright future for that club.

However, the Port City club struggled for numbers and depth in the premier league this year and  Mr Birkefeld said there is some thought to allowing the Port City to be able to call on Gloucester’s players if both clubs are agreeable.

“It would be good for some of Gloucester’s younger players to get some experience in the premier league,’’ he said.

There’ll be a full day of grand finals tomorrow, starting with the junior grades. 

Tigers and Taree West will play in the women’s division one match.

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