Maclean and the Storm battle it out on the field, and left, the match report which started the off-field argument.
Maclean and the Storm battle it out on the field, and left, the match report which started the off-field argument.

Bobcats in the eye of storm

INCENSED Northern Storm officials claim their club has been made a scapegoat of a congested Premier League fixture list and are not the culprits of an attempted soccer raid.

Progression by Maclean in the newly-formed Solo Cup knockout competition left the Bobcats with a testing double header last weekend.

On Saturday the defending premiers travelled to Lismore to face Goonellabah before backing up with a league contest against the Storm on Sunday.

The Bobcats were left furious at Storm decision-makers after a request to change the Coffs Harbour stoush to a mid-week game proved fruitless.

In Tuesday’s Examiner, Bobcats’ spokesman Peter Smajstr labelled the Storm “cunning”, “unsportsmanlike-like” and said “their sense of fairness is not so evident”.

These claims have left Storm president Robert Manning questioning the attack on his club, which he says was simply abiding by North Coast Football orders.

“We were asked if we would do it (move the fixture) but unfortunately we have commitments with our sponsors,” he said.

“The only other option we had was if we hired a bus and drove to Maclean at 8pm on a Wednesday night.

“But to lose our canteen was out of the question. We are not devious and did nothing wrong.”

The Storm was eliminated from the Solo Cup earlier in the campaign, opening up their calendar.

But Maclean’s progression to the semi-final phase saw a double up of fixtures – and a promise there could be more to come.

North Coast Football chairman Peter Rowe says it is a situation that will have to be looked at next season – but the current set-up stands.

“All clubs were informed at the beginning of the season that there may be some double headers (because of the Solo Cup),” Rowe said.

“They (the Storm) had no obligation to move the fixture at all, and it has happened many times before.

“The match took place and a result happened and we move on.”

Manning says the whole incident left an unsavoury taste in the Storm’s mouth but denied his troops would be after any retribution when the teams next clash on the field on August 14.

“We congratulated them on their (Solo Cup) win,” Manning said.

“If it had been us, we would have wanted the game moved as well.

“They are the premiers, they are undefeated and wanted to stay that way.

“We did our very best to welcome Maclean to our ground.”

Maclean president Mick Corbett is standing by the under-attack Smajstr, who ignited the debate with a scathing match review.

“It (the report) might be a bit strong but it’s not a lie,” Corbett said.

“We put quite a few scenarios to them, including offering to give them two home games. All the talk about the revenue (being a factor) is a bit of a porky.”

“To lose our canteen was out of the question. We are not devious and did nothing wrong.”



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