'We deserve a grand final': Tweed snubbed for hosting rights
THE Byron Bay Magpies' good fortune has again come at the expense of the Tweed Tigers, with the local football club left "bitterly disappointed" after being overlooked to host a league grand final for a tenth consecutive year.
And the latest rebuff, according to the Tigers, is a big punch in the guts, with the club saying it has done all it can to satisfy league demands.
Despite its oval being in disrepair earlier in the season, Byron Bay will host the AFL Northern Rivers' grand final later this month for the fourth consecutive year, with the club emerging as AFL Queensland's preferred venue for the league's flagship day.
It's a preference that is, according to the Tweed Tigers, contrary to reason and fairness.
There are two reasons why AFLQ's rejections are curious.
Firstly, the Northern Rivers league has a mobile grand final location, with all four teams invited to make a submission to host the day.
But in a decade, with a rotating policy and modest competition from only three other clubs, the Tigers' submissions are 0/10.
Secondly, a key selection criteria for the AFLQ's venue selection is the quality of the playing surface.
Seabreeze Oval, the Tigers home-ground, is considered the best surface in the Northern Rivers in season 2018.
The turf on Lismore's recently upgraded, $2.8 million Oakes Oval is still setting in, Ballina's Fripp Oval has experienced typical July-August woes, while the centre-square of Byron Bay's Cavanbah Centre was, until only recently, unplayable, with the Byron Bay Magpies having to ask for council assistance to remedy the oval.
Back at Seabreeze Oval in Pottsville, there has been no such trouble. Yet, another application has been discarded, leaving the club reason to believe the system is "unfair and inequitable".
"We have never been given the opportunity, despite numerous applications and presentations," Tweed Coast Tigers' president Ben Kelly told the Tweed Daily News.
"To go back to Byron, particularly given the state of their field this year, for the fourth year in a row, is bitterly disappointing.
"But it's probably not surprising considering there's an AFL logo on the side of the Cavanbah Centre (Byron's home-ground)."
Kelly said the club had worked to satisfy the state body's regulations, ticked all the boxes and boasts the league's best field.
"Seabreeze Oval is in immaculate condition," Kelly said.
"It's the best playing surface in the league without a question of a doubt.
"At the end of the day, we're just so disappointed and we believe we deserve a grand final.
"We've done everything we needed to do. We always strive for a higher standard and we were hoping that would be rewarded."