Knights unhappy with ‘crazy’ draw

Melbourne Knights earlier this season. (Football Victoria)

Max Hatzoglou

Melbourne Knights have criticised a fixture reschedule that has left them playing four matches in 11 days.

National Premier League officials rescheduled an April 29 postponed match between Knights and Oakleigh to Tuesday.

The round 11 match was called off due to excessive rain which left too many puddles on the pitch.

Knights coach Steve Bebic described the decision as crazy for a competition of semi-professional footballers.

“It’s crazy. I’m not happy about it,” Bebic said.

“Unfortunately I don’t think it’s right at this level for semi-professional players who all have day jobs and lot of them have physical jobs.

“We train at night, they’re on their feet all day, whatever the case may be.

“Now it’s immediately three games in seven days. Tuesday, Friday, Tuesday, and then back up again on Saturday. It’s not gonna be easy to get through this unscathed.

“From a federation’s aspect, having us play this game on Tuesday, I just don’t see much reason why it had to be this Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, they’re the ones who make the call and we just sort of have to play along and go with it.

Bebic said both clubs would have preferred to have played the match during the league’s catch up round in August.

Alternatively Bebic said it would have been ideal to play midweek in round 24 where the club’s were to meet again for its second clash of the season.

“You’d think that if a game was postponed, it would be automatically transferred to that catch up round where there’s no games at all,” he said.

“However, for whatever reason, they decided that isn’t to be the case and they wanted these games to be played as soon as possible within the next three weeks.

“It is definitely not ideal.”

A Football Victoria (FV) spokesperson said the Knights were granted their first preference to the options they were given for re-scheduling the game.

“With the regular NPLM season and Australia Cup competitions running concurrently, there can be congestion at this time of year for clubs that advance in the Australia Cup fixtures.”

The spokesperson said the clubs were asked to nominate either May 23, May 24, May 31 or June 7 as their preferred date for the match to be rescheduled to.

“Both clubs decided on two different dates, FV decided to grant Melbourne Knights their preference as they were the home team, which was May 24,” the spokesperson said.

To add to the pressure of a busy schedule, the Knights face some quality opponents beginning with Dandenong City in a derby on Saturday in round 14.

Followed by this, Knights will play second placed Oakleigh Cannons, then fifth placed Avondale for its fourth game in 11 days. Then they will take on ladder leaders South Melbourne in the following week.

“There’s not one easy game there,” Bebic said.

Despite the physical challenge the schedule could bring to his side Bebic said it could benefit.

“It’s gonna be really difficult, but at the same time, I think sometimes it’s good for players to just have game after game, some actually prefer that to training,” he said.

“So it’s a good opportunity for us to just see what happens [on Saturday]. Three days later, we will have another crack.”