Northern Storm opener marred by controversial call
AFTER months waiting for the inaugural Coastal Premier League curtain-raiser, Northern Storm's clash with Taree Wildcats was cut short on Saturday.
Leading the travelling Wildcats 2-1 with just over 30 minutes left to play, Taree's James Goldsmith went down with a dislocated knee and an ambulance was called to treat the injury.
With fading light and a lack of lights at the field working against them, officials made the decision to end the match early.
Storm coach Eric McCarthy expressed his frustration after the call was made.
"It's not (protocol) at all. It's the referees decision and they decided that it's not bright enough. If they'd started when the player was taken off the field, there'd be 10 minutes left," McCarthy said.
"It's an unprecedented thing to have happened. Obviously you have to stop the game if someone is injured and can't come off the field. The other side of it is you're calling off a game for absolutely no reason. We all live in the area, we all know what time it gets dark."
Storm captain Nathan Skinner said it was an unfortunate incident halting what was otherwise a good contest.
"It was a horrible injury, I really feel sorry for the bloke. It's tough when you feel like you had your nose in front, a home draw is the one that got away really," Skinner said.
"Now the competition is structured with no fourth spot, every game is super important. We'll probably have to try and make that one up down the track.
"We were probably going to run out of light. It was an unfortunate event but it is what it is, that's football."
Skinner was pleased with the test his side received from the unknown entity of the competition latecomers in the Wildcats.
"They were a good physical side and we really knew nothing about them. It's always interesting when you come up against new opposition and they gave us a really good challenge. We're definitely looking forward to the season ahead," Skinner said.
McCarthy added his thoughts on the side's performance without usual preparations.
"Obviously there' a bit of rust. Nobody has had a proper pre-season and a chance to get that rust out of their system. I thought they did really well," McCarthy said.
"We created quite a few chances and probably should have had another two or three before half time. It's a fabulous mix of experience and youth and I think it's the right formula for success going forward."
While the game was called a draw, there was confusion among officials as a full-time result of 2-1 to Northern Storm was posted on the Coastal Premier League Facebook page.
Coastal Premier League officials have since confirmed Northern Storm will take the three points due to the lead held at the stoppage of play.