The Group 11 grand final may be played somewhere other than Caltex Park this year, with each club currently investigating the logistics of hosting the biggest match of the season.
Dubbo’s showpiece facility has hosted all but one decider in the past 10 years, with all clubs coming to an agreement in 2012 Caltex Park, the standout ground in the competition, should host the grand final.
But with the costs involved in holding the event at Dubbo set to rise this year, Group 11’s board sent out an email to its clubs requesting information on council costs to stage the competition’s flagship day.
A decision will then be made at the game’s mid-season meeting, most likely on August 5.
“Dubbo is a wonderful venue and (Dubbo Regional Council interim general manager) Mark Riley has supported us,” Group 11 director of operations Paul Loxley said.
“Once we have all the facts we can make a decision but it will also come down to the amount of people who can go to the game and the facilities available.
“The cost (of holding the event at Dubbo) has gone up. Police and security (costs) as well. It’s significant.”
There's every chance and clubs are now discussing options.
Loxley was unable to confirm what the rise was while Dubbo Regional Council Director Parks and Landcare Ian McAlister denied there would be a significant rise.
“No cost has been established,” he said.
“I’m not sure who they came up with that. What we’ve always done is look at the costs and what is sports specific and then they tell us what they want and we charge accordingly.”
McAlister added a lot of the time Dubbo Regional Council subsidises the costs on grand final day as well.
Loxley said specifics of any deal were not available at this time as he and the board was waiting on “the facts” of what each ground and club can offer.
Any matter relating to who would host the grand final, potentially the winner of the major semi-final, will not be finalised until the meeting in August.
“There’s every chance (the final could move) and clubs are now discussing options so we can know the facts,” he said.
The cost involved with playing the grand finals at Dubbo last season was reported to be roughly $13,000, with $33,000 being taken at the gate.
It is also believed the cost of hosting the grand final at Caltex Park this season could be as high as $20,000, with the council’s rise in fees being claimd, the price of police and security to attend and other costs making it an expensive day for Group 11.
That, combined with the call for an increase in prizemoney in each grade makes it harder for the competition to turn a profit.
However, McAlister reiterated the fact no cost figure was in place and Dubbo Regional Council would be keen on hosting the event again.
“Not just Group 11 because we see the value of having these events in Dubbo,” he said.
“Dubbo has got, quite honestly, one of the best facilities west of the Blue Mountains and we want to ensure it gets used.”
Loxley did confirm Group 11 will continue it’s revenue sharing on grand final day. Each club will have a responsibility on grand final day, be it canteens, bars or raffles.
Also, the top four sides in the 2017 first grade competition are also guaranteed to host a match during the finals, something not always possible in the past.