Hornets forced to play waiting game
A SEVENTY-year tradition has been put on hold with Football Far North Coast forced to postpone its prestigious Anzac Cup competition.
Goonellabah has already qualified for the final, originally scheduled for April 25, and will play either Alstonville or Byron Bay when competition resumes after the coronavirus pandemic.
New Goonellabah coach Michael Primiano is currently experiencing a bittersweet feeling as the progression of the competition is in limbo.
Primiano is off to an impressive start to his coaching role in the top grade by taking the Hornets to its first Anzac Cup final since the club won consecutive titles in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
All soccer activity has been suspended until at least May 31, but the season is likely to be further delayed given the information released by the NSW State Government and the Federal Government in regards to social-distancing regulations.
Football Far North Coast general manager, Steve Mackney, said the decision to defer the four Anzac Cup competitions and the Callan McMillan Memorial Shield would be reviewed over the coming months, along with senior and junior winter competitions.
“We remain optimistic that there will be enough time in 2020 to get some football played,” Mackney said.
“The Anzac Cup competition is a very prestigious part of our season activities and our valued strategic partner, Tursa Employment and Training, is to be commended for the stellar support during this frustrating period for the community.
“Tursa has been aligned with Football Far North Coast for many years and, like all of our stakeholders, everyone wants to see the game back up and running soon.”
A win by Alstonville in its remaining game against Richmond Rovers would see them potentially get a crack at winning its first Anzac Cup title.
They would need to earn maximum three points by defeating Rovers and finishing with a better goal difference than the Rams, who ended their pool games with a plus-four differential.
Coach Dave Gambley has the reigns this season, and the club that has promised so much for many years will be keen to get an opportunity to get to the big dance.
Byron Bay has been a regular in finals for the past two decades, with four Anzac Cup titles won in that period. The most recent victory was in 2017.
New coach Belinda Wilson has impressed her talented squad with her technical knowledge of the game during her short tenure at the club and she will be hoping that the competition can be resurrected.