Umpire shortages force more changes to GFL’s 2022 senior fixtures

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Goldfields Football League chairman Graeme Borchet.
Camera IconGoldfields Football League chairman Graeme Borchet. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

The Goldfields Football League’s shortage of umpires has forced more changes to the 2022 fixtures, with this weekend’s derby between Mines Rovers and Boulder moved back a day.

Round two was scheduled to get under way on Saturday with a 2.30pm clash between the traditional rivals at Digger Daws Oval, but will now be played on Sunday.

As originally scheduled, Railways oppose Kalgoorlie at Sir Richard Moore Sports Centre on Saturday at 6pm.

The overall impact, however, is far-reaching.

On Wednesday, GFL chairman Graeme Borchet said a shallow umpiring pool would likely mean that fixtures were staggered across two days for the duration of the season.

“It’s looking that way (splitting matches over Saturdays and Sundays), unless we get an influx of umpires,” Borchet said.

“We have got a few umpires returning this weekend.

“But I think out of the 16 we needed, we only have 11.

“To do it all in one day was not going to work and as it was last weekend, umpires did a full day on Saturday and then followed up all day Sunday.

“It’s just another challenge we’ve been thrown and we have to work with it.”

On the prospect of more fixture changes drawing backlash from the clubs, Borchet said it was largely unavoidable.

“Both Boulder clubs obviously had big days planned for Saturday,” he said.

‘‘I wouldn’t say they’re unhappy (with the rescheduling).

“But they did raise some issues that we take on board.”

Finalising the 2022 fixtures has been a logistical nightmare for the GFL — initially with the opening round delayed by three weeks because of COVID-19, an expanded women’s competition and doubts over Kambalda’s future.

Due to the late start, the league also has to make up two rounds during the course of the season, and the May 21 WAFL clash in Kalgoorlie-Boulder will see local games spread across five days.

Meanwhile, Borchet urged spectators to limit alcohol consumption to licensed areas.

“The GFL is aware of drinking around the grounds and is something we’ll need to police in the next few weeks,” he said.

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