All roads lead to Lang Lang

Lang Lang life member Bob Utber will launch his highly-anticipated book at the club's first home game in its new facility at Caldermeade. Picture: COURTESY OF BEN GROSS/SUNRAYSIA DAILY

To suggest that Good Friday will be the biggest event in the life of the 121 year-old Lang Lang Football Club could be said to be an understatement.

History buffs might suggest that the four premierships won during that time in 1909, 1922, 1928 and 1936 were the biggest.

But people close to the club are saying that the events on Friday, 2 April will outshine anything that has happened in the past and will bring the biggest crowd ever to the new state-of-the-art stadium at Caldermeade.

The day and night will certainly draw big crowds, if for the reason that this will be the first game of competition football to be held in Gippsland since 2019 and the only sporting event to be held on the first day of the Easter holidays.

Lang Lang President Chris Brew is excited that the hard work of many will finally be showcased on the big stage.

“We are fortunate that the Ellinbank and District Football League (EDFL) is right behind the event and as a league it is pleased to have the opportunity to showcase our league on a stage such as this,” Brew said.

“With three games of football and six games of netball against the Poowong Magpies we are certain to draw a large crowd of desperate sports fans from all over Gippsland and the suburbs, as well as supporters from both clubs.”

Brew said that all is in readiness for the big event, stating that it had been a massive logistics project to get everything right for the day-night event.

The logistics of putting an event such as this will see traffic management plans involving security personnel and local police providing assistance to ensure patrons can safely enter and exit the facility.

Besides the grand opening of the ground as a football venue the club will also be hosting the launch of Life member Bob Utber’s book ‘Heart and Soul – A History of the Lang Lang Football Club 1900-2020’.

“We are fortunate that the book will be hot off the press for the great day,” Brew said.

“Bob Utber and his statistician, and Lang Lang club historian Lachlan Barwick, have done a marvellous job in putting together a book such as this. It will be added incentive for members and people interested in Lang Lang to be able to purchase the book from the author himself.

“This is not a picture book but does include some wonderful images in nearly 200 pages of the club’s history. Only 300 copies have been printed, so it will be a case of first in best served.”

Utber said tracing the club’s existence had been a satisfying experience.

“Lachie and I have been lucky enough to trace relatives who had family members play in premiership teams at Lang Lang,” Utber said.

“Due to restrictions regarding Covid-19 we have not been unable to cater for them at the event’s dinner function, but we hope they get to enjoy the rest of the day’s activities.”

The recent announcement by AFL Victoria that community football crowds will now be classified as low-risk tier-2 events, with 5000 capacity, means that excited local footy fans can head to the game with the confidence that they can attend without being turned away.

“The club has gone to great lengths to ensure that this event is a Covid-Safe event,” Brew said.

“A QR registration code will be handed to all patrons as they enter the ground on the day, and a full-time cleaning crew has been appointed to ensure that all toilets and wet areas are regularly cleaned during the event.

“There will be at least a dozen sanitisation stations in key locations around the venue and volunteer Covid-Safe officers will be encouraging all patrons to maintain safe social distancing.”

Gates open from 1pm with the first netball game commencing at 1.40pm – with netball continuing throughout the day and night.

Football action will commence at 3.15pm with the senior match commencing at 7.20pm.