The Night Series football tournament in Western Australia has always been the ideal pre season tournament and has become a tradition in football in WA. Although not always a guide as to who will be vying for League and finals honours at the end of the season it gives coaches and fans the chance to see which teams have potential and who are the players to look out for.
In recent years Football West expanded the competition and decided to make it more accessible to all in the metropolitan area. This had a few teething problems initially but overall has proved very successful. Despite that success and the format having been accepted by all, that could all be jeopardised in the coming season. With the new National Premier Leagues competition due to start in the first week of March, the Night Series will have to be brought forward a month. This may not present any issues to the NPL clubs but it will to those in the lower divisions.
Although traditionally players have not been paid during the Night Series, coaches have been. So with the tournament being brought forward clubs in the lower divisions will have to find additional money to cover the coaches fees in these extra weeks.
Those clubs playing in the two divisions outside the NPL are now faced with the decision as to whether they play in this earlier competition, and then continue pre season training for a month before their season starts or whether they start training as normal would and simply arrange scratch matches amongst themselves when the Night Series has traditionally been staged.
It would be a shame if the all inclusive Night Series which has proved successful in recent years has to revert back to a split competition between those playing at the highest level and those in the leagues outside of the NPL.
What is it that say? ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ It would appear that to accommodate the NPL there is plenty of fixing going on. Some for the betterment of the game, some maybe not so. To change this at this point in time would be a shame.