Ballarat Football League fans will be allowed onto Mars Stadium during breaks on grand final day, AFL Goldfields general manager Rod Ward said.
The discussion follows Central Highlands Football League’s decision to not allow ground access to ensure the day stayed on track with its time restraints. The decision has been met with some criticism on social media, with 84% of the 685 votes cast on The Courier’s poll believing “it took away from the country footy feel.”
Ward said while it would be allowing spectators onto the ground, he understood the extra pressure on the CHFL given its busier schedule.
“We’ll be letting them on the oval,” Ward told The Courier.
“We don’t have the time pressures that they have.
“I don’t want to cast dispersion on them...I understand why they didn’t do it with four grand finals to get through.”
Beaufort president Brien Leckie voiced his opinion on Saturday’s decision.
The Crows went down in an enthralling CHFL grand final to Hepburn by 18 points. Only five points separated the sides heading into the last quarter and coach Rowan Brown drew on the club’s faithful for support, taking his group over to the Beaufort cheer squad.
Leckie said it was a “shame” the side could not be surrounded by its supporters, like it has been all season.
“This is country football we’re talking about, don’t get me wrong, we played on a fantastic venue.
“It’s one of those things, you get to play on a great venue, but the sacrifice is you can’t have your crowd around the huddle, we’re used to doing that all year,” Leckie said.
“It was a bit of a shame.
“We do it every week, they know as soon as they hear the siren everyone starts going.
“But they’re under pressure too, they’re running to a time schedule, it’s a big day for everyone.”
The Ballarat Football League grand final will be played on September 23.