Fixture flaw

AN opening round fixture that saw two of last season's Golden Rivers Football Netball League top four sides play teams that finished in the lower third of the ladder contributed to last weekend's one-sided matches.

League chairman, Greg Bear confirmed earlier this week the structure of the opening round of the season played a role in a weekend that saw the closest result be a 84-point win to 2017 semi-finalists, Murrabit against Quambatook.

Three teams kicked at least 30 goals in last weekend's opening round, with Hay and 2017 preliminary finalists, Nullawil both recording 200-plus-point victories.

The Maroons' 288-point victory against Wakool and its team total of 48.18 (306) are the highest winning margin and team score this century, and would challenge the league's records which go back to the mid-1940s.

Macorna also became the fourth side this decade to remain goalless in a match at the weekend, joining Hay (2010 v Wandella), Moulamein (2015 v Nullawil) and Wakool (2017 v Nullawil).

Last weekend's efforts by the Lions and Maroons means this season has already produced more 200-plus-point wins in eight seasons, with Wandella achieving the feat twice against Hay in 2010.

"I would be lying if the league was not concerned by last weekend's results, as we would always want to see games that are close or sides winning by one point," Bear said.

"In reality, each club is at a different stage in their cycle. Most of the sides who won at the weekend, as well as Ultima, are near the top of their premiership cycle, whilst other clubs would be at the bottom."

Teams kicking 30 goals in a match had been a rare feat earlier this decade, with the achievement occurring in eight of the 524 games held between 2010 and 2016,

However, the milestone occurred nine times out of the 76 games held last season – with Nullawil chalking up three wins in this manner.

Eventual premiers, Wandella surpassed the 30-goal mark twice in 2017, with Hay, Macorna, Moulamein and Ultima also registering wins with a significant haul of goals.

"As a league, all we can do is help clubs with administration purposes, as the Player Points System and salary cap matters are all controlled by AFL Victoria. We can't help clubs put players on the park," Bear said.

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