Newcastle Jets expected to tour Mid North Coast

FOOTBALL Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons is confident the Newcastle Jets will visit this area again this year.

“We’ve built up a good relationship with the Jets since they were here last year,’’ Mr Parsons said.

“If they are going on a road trip I would be very confident they’ll come back during their off-season.’’

The Jets visited Taree and Port Macquarie last August with their full A-League squad, running a coaching clinic at Omaru Park that drew hundreds of juniors before heading to Port Macquarie for further clinics. They also played a trial game against northern and southern FMNC representative sides at Port Macquarie Regional Stadium. This attracted a crowd of more than 2000.

Mr Parsons said it was a brilliant promotion for the code.

He wouldn’t be drawn to comment on whether they would be any change to the program if the Jets fly back here this year.

“It’s too early to talk about that yet. The program would be decided when we it is confirmed they are  coming here,’’ he said.

Meanwhile Mr Parsons confirmed the FMNC grand final will be played at the Harry Elliott Oval at Tuncurry in September. This is the first time a grand final has been played there since 2012 when Taree defeated Macleay Valley.

Matches since have been at the Port Macquarie Regional Stadium.

Mr Parsons said the game will be at Tuncurry regardless of the teams involved.

“Even if two northern sides are playing in first grade the grand final will still be played at Harry Elliott,’’ Mr Parsons said.

“We’ve had this argument before when the games were at Port and there was a chance it could have been between two southern sides.’’

Mr Parsons said the FMNC board is keen to showcase the grand final to other areas of the zone.

“We’re looking to play our grand final at the best venue possible,’’ he said.

Mr Parsons said the fact the Elliott Oval has less traffic on it during the season than the Regional Stadium was another factor. The Forster-Tuncurry Rugby League Club is the major tenant at the ground during the football season while the Regional Stadium is the home for two Group Three Rugby League clubs and is often booked for other events. Mr Parsons is confident the playing surface at the Elliott Oval will be in top class order to host a grand final.

Last year the grand final featuring Wallis Lake and Port United was played under lights. This was a first for Football Mid North Coast.

However, Mr Parsons said this September’s match will be played in the afternoon.

“We found last year that not a lot of spectators stayed around to watch the first grade,’’ he said.

“We tried something new and it didn’t work as well as we would have hoped so we’ll revert to an afternoon match.’’

As was the case in 2017 the grand final program will feature the junior grade winners of Football Mid North Coast’s southern and northern competitions to decide the zone champions. There’ll be a further incentive this year, with the winners then progressing to the Northern NSW finals to be played in Coffs Harbour in October. Football Mid North Coast Premier League’s 2018 season started last Saturday.