The first ever night final in the Gippsland League between Leongatha and Maffra at Traralgon has brought in mixed reviews – well, among the local papers anyway.

While the Warragul & Drouin Gazette were mainly in favour of the night final, Tony Giles of The Great Southern Star described the night as an “absolute fizzer”. Both articles do outline some of the issues, in particular the crowd numbers.

See below for what both articles had to say about the night:

NIGHT EXPERIMENT GETS A PASS – published by Warragul & Drouin Gazette on Tuesday September 11th, 2018

The upgraded lighting at the Traralgon ground under which Gippsland League’s first night final was played on Saturday probably came through with a pass mark. The experiment of playing under lights didn’t seem to affect the players Matfra can hardly blame that for not seeing which way Leongatha went in the second half but there were still difficulties for spectators. That was particularly the case when the play was on the opposite side of the oval and against the dark background. Not as good viewing as in daylight, even when conditions are overcast.
Everything was in favour of a “bumper” crowd on Saturday. The weather couldn’t have been better. A fine mild day, little breeze and although a bit chilly for the senior game there have been plenty of worse days for football during the season. Six of the 10 clubs represented in the four football games and seven clubs involved in six netball contests ensured a good total attendance spread across the day.
However, it was by no means shoulder-to-shoulder in the main areas where spectators gathered during the senior game. Probably about a normal crowd for a second semi-final and no major influx of people that had earlier been at neighbouring league matches. Certainly nowhere near enough extra people to pay the electricity bill for about four hours of lighting.
Warragul & Drouin Gazette

LIGHTS OFF FOR CROWDS – by Tony Giles for The Great Southern Star, published by the Great Southern Star on Tuesday September 11th, 2018.

The decision to play the Leongatha v Maffra match under lights at Traralgon might have been a great way to showcase the new $800,000 lighting upgrade but if crowd numbers are any indication it was an absolute “fizzer”. It works at the MCG but why not in the country?
First of all it’s about travel times and where the crowds are coming from, it’s about comfort and ambience, it is about which clubs are involved, the inflexibility of scheduling of final’s matches and it is about whether families are willing to drive an hour home at night with kids in the car after a 9pm finish. A The fact that during the day the weather was an absolute cracker probably didn’t help either. There was also a West Coast v Collingwood match on television which overlapped the Leonqatha v Maffra game during this AFL game’s first half.
While it was worth experimenting, unless the league can schedule the night game when it knows which clubs are going to be involved then don’t bother. If the league knew it was a Traralgon, Morwell or Moe involved or both for a second semi-final for example; then have the game as a 6.30pm start. However if it is a short notice decision and caterers, club volunteers, security and police can’t adjust to the timing then maybe it can only happen during the season and not in finals. The Leongatha and Maffra supporters who were there made plenty of noise especially the Leongatha crowd near the grandstand as the Parrots got on top in the second half. But country footy is so different to playing a big final at the MCG; it is still all about families and with conditions quite cold and spectators facing an hour on the road at the end; it was never going to work.
Tony Giles - The Great Southern Star


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