There’s more to football than just football, as North Tamworth Rugby League Football Club stalwart Gary Chillingworth points out, ahead of the season’s grand final weekend.
The North Tamworth Bears line up in their tenth grand final since 2000 at Bear Park on Sunday, August 26 and are hoping to lift their win
percentage from their current rate of 44 per cent to a more respectable 50 per cent when they run out onto their home ground on Sunday .
That 44 per cent win rate , however, does include their memorable Group 4 record equaling sequence of four titles in a row from 2005 to 2008 and the Bears would like nothing better then to add to that tally with a fifth title.
We hauled ourselves back from the “easybeat” genre of the ’90s when we could not buy a win and the club was struggling to just survive – to an absolute purple patch of 10 grand final appearances in the past 13 years.
We only missed out in 2002, 2004 and 2010, and that effort is a credit to our players and the volunteers who took up the huge challenge of hauling the club back from the brink and continued to work toward the re-establishment of the Bears as a competitive force in the game.
This will be our eighth home grand final in that period, and the club takes enormous pride in promoting the pinnacle of the game and hosting it at home.
This year will be no different but the group and the club have adopted some tough rules and made an enormously hard decision, in respect of this year’s event, by banning cars from Bear Park for the 2012 grand final.
We had no option ... last year we were required, by police, to shut off the section of Peel St, at the front of the oval, to allow cars to leave the area safely and the cost involved, coupled with the cost of police presence, tore an enormous hole in the revenue raised by the club from the event to such a degree that we started to question the worth of the efforts our members put in.
As all footy finals are group andnot club events, the host clubs do not benefit from the gate takings.
The major money comes from the gate and goes to Group 4 but the operational costs, including security and all associated aspects, comes from the club’s coffers.
Fortunately this year the group is covering security costs so that takes some of the financial pressure off the club.”
The hosts also faced the inevitable problems associated with patrons “importing” alcohol into the venue, with particular concern about that alcohol coming in glass bottles.
We tried our damndest to promote the importance and legality of this aspect of concern and the consequences of such actions but there is always that minority element that place themselves above laws, rules and regulations, so, very unfortunately, this year no cars, unless they display disabled stickers, will be allowed into Bear Park.
Security will also be checking eskys and bags and patrolling the ground perimeter fences.
Everybody should be able to enjoy the game, not just the few who flaunt the rules and create social discomfort and the group , as well as our club, are determined to assure that happens.
Extra canteens, including a “Coffee Hut” and, yes, cappuccinos are available, will be operating and mid-strength alcohol only will be available from the two bars.”
Our alcohol free zones have also been extended.
The Bears will be celebrating their “Decade of Grand Finals” and we want everybody to come along and enjoy it with us and walk away with nothing but good memories of a great day at the footy.”