INVERELL becomes a sporting mecca this weekend as the sapphire city hosts three finals across three codes.
Inverell Hawks will kick off proceedings at Varley Oval tomorrow when the rugby league club plays Armidale Rams in the Group 19 minor semi-finals.
Just across the Macintyre River the local football club, Inverell Joeys FC, will also be hosting a Northern Inland Football Premier League quarter-final.
Varley Oval will be the venue again on Sunday when Inverell Saints tackle Tamworth Kangaroos in their Tamworth AFL Preliminary Final.
Inverell Hawks president Garry Lavender said it would be a great weekend for Inverell and the clubs.
Originally, all three were to be played on Saturday but, with the Hawks and the Saints sharing a home ground, the AFL was shifted to the following day.
Following a brilliant second half to the season, the Hawks swooped in on the Group 19 finals, just missing second spot in the final round.
They will play Armidale in the main event at 2.30pm, although the day will include four grades.
“Gates will open at 9am, with the ladies’ league tag kicking off at 10.30am,” Lavender said.
The Hawks will feature in the top grade and the Under 18s.
The Lavender-coached juniors will take on Goondiwindi, who also play Glen Innes in reserve grade, while Tingha and Ashford will start proceedings with the league tag.
Joeys FC also had a good finish to the year and took the minor premiership.
They will take on Tamworth’s North Companions, who finished second in the Southern Conference behind Tamworth FC.
Coach Steve Gadd is proud to have led the side to its first ever home final.
“There is a lot to be said for a home ground advantage,” Gadd said.
“We need to create and take our opportunities.”
On Sunday the Saints run out at 2pm in their knockout final against the Roos.
The Nick Baird-coached side was responsible for the biggest upset of the season when it beat the Nomads in the final round.
The minor premiers hadn’t been beaten for almost two years and took their revenge on Inverell last week in the major semi-final in Armidale with a 68-point thumping of the Saints.
The Roos, on the other hand, are coming in hot after a 143-point hiding of Narrabri last week.
Amazingly, the Saints have played in every grand final since 2007 and are desperate for another crack after only winning it twice in that time – 2007 and 2010.
“We have a big oval, a big crowd and always lift a few notches at home,” Baird said.
“It should be a great game of footy and a great weekend of sport in Inverell.”