By ZAC MILBANK
Blockbuster matches in the early rounds are a significant feature of an exciting 2023 Hostplus SANFL League fixture released on Tuesday.
With a marquee Round 1 schedule – including Norwood hosting the Eagles under lights in the season-opener – kicking off this year’s action, enticing match-ups will ensure the high-quality competition begins with great anticipation.
Four matches will be played on Good Friday in Round 2, complemented by a huge Easter Thursday night clash to be played between Norwood and Sturt at The Parade.
Three matches will start at 2.10pm on April 7 before 2019 Grand Finalists Glenelg and Port Adelaide square off at the Bay from 4.40pm.
Anzac Weekend looms as a footy feast with five matches played over four days, including the traditional Grand Final rematch between 2022 Grand Finalists – Norwood and North Adelaide – at The Parade on April 25.
An intriguing Anzac Eve contest at Brighton Road between 2021 Grand Finalists, the Eagles and Glenelg, is another to mark on the calendar.
”We are really excited about the marquee match-ups, particularly in the opening rounds,” SANFL Head of Football Operations Sean Toohey said.
”Given the close nature of last season’s Hostplus SANFL League minor round, it promises to be an intriguing start while maximising the potential for significant attendances amid the milder weather.”
SANFL Head of Football Operations Sean Toohey
''Given the close nature of last season's Hostplus SANFL League minor round, it promises to be an intriguing start while maximising the potential for significant attendances amid the milder weather.''
SANFL will hit the road in 2023 with four regional matches, including the inaugural Neil Kerley Memorial Match, to be played between West Adelaide and Adelaide in Murray Bridge in Round 16.
Central District will host Adelaide in the Barossa Valley in Round 12 as part of the SA Country Championships while Norwood will again play the Bloods in Port Lincoln after its successful venture to the Eyre Peninsula last season.
West Adelaide will host Port Adelaide in Loxton for a second-coming of the Russell Ebert Tribute Match, held for the first time in the Riverland last year.
In an innovative measure, First Nations Round will be held across two weekends, Rounds 11 and 12.
This will allow each SANFL club the opportunity to host a First Nation-themed match to recognise the enormous contribution Indigenous people make to Australian Football in South Australia.
The West End State team will aim to retain the Haydn Bunton Junior Cup on home soil on the weekend of Saturday May 20, with further details on the Croweaters’ annual clash with the Sandgropers to be confirmed.
A four-week finals series starting on Saturday September 3 will be played at Adelaide Oval, culminating with the 2023 SANFL Hostplus League Grand Final on Sunday September 24.
Start times and match days for Rounds 11 to 18 will be confirmed later in the year, once the AFL finalises its full minor round fixture.
At the request of Woodville-West Torrens, no matches were scheduled at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval across the opening four rounds while construction work is being undertaken.
Channel 7 and 7plus will continue to broadcast a Match of the Round each weekend along with a weekly radio broadcast on SEN SA.
The Hostplus SANFL League and Hostplus SANFLW League will again be showcased live and on demand via its popular streaming platform – SANFL Now.
SANFL is encouraging fans to sign up for a club home match membership in 2023, with this being the most cost-effective way to support their team at the game this season.
SANFL club memberships can be purchased via the SANFL website here.
Hard copies of the 2023 Hostplus SANFL League season will be available with the purchase of The Advertiser on Wednesday.