Black Diamond AFL: Newcastle City Council closes No.1 Sportsground for Big Freeze charity game

Newcastle City Council has closed No.1 Sportsground due to wet weather, forcing the Black Diamond AFL to shift the Big Freeze charity game on Saturday to Nelson Bay.

The Newcastle City Blues joined with a local organising committee and Cure For MND in bringing the Big Freeze concept to Newcastle in aid of motor neurone disease awareness and research.

The Newcastle Freeze team have surpassed their $50,000 fundraising target and are now closing in on a revised goal of $100,000.

A group of Hunter identities including real estate queen Leah Jay, Jets goalkeeper Claire Coelho, cricketer Anthony Stuart, TV reporter Michael Cain, radio presenter Nick Gill and Genesis Fitness owner John Pirlo were to slide into a pool of icy water before the Blues’ game against Nelson Bay.

The slide event will go ahead at No.1, but the game, and the preceding women’s match, will be played 50km away in Nelson Bay.

It is understood Black Diamond officials are disappointed and frustrated at the ground closure given the amount of work the club has put into the charity day.

They said No.1 Sportsground would be the only Australian rules ground closed on Saturday throughout the Hunter and Central Coast.  

On the field, the third-placed Blues (16 points) and fourth-placed Marlins (12) will hope to stay in touch with second-placed Cardiff (28) and avoid a knockout game in the first week of the finals.

City welcome back player-coach Mitchell Knight, while Nelson Bay should have Tim Divall and Joel Ericson back on deck.

Winless Warners Bay look to be on a hiding to nothing against the Panthers at Feighan Oval, but the Bulldogs beat Terrigal twice last year and led them 31-13 at half-time last month before losing by 39. The Bulldogs get back representative player Ben Kernahan and NSW/ACT under-16s player Ky McGrath but lose midfielder Ben Hunter (calf).

Cardiff face a much-improved Killarney Vale side at Adelaide St Oval after thrashing them by 97 points earlier this year.