Big name stars ready to fire as more fans to head back to SANFL footy

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By SANFL Media

The hotly anticipated 2021 SANFL Statewide Super League gets underway this Easter weekend, featuring a host of big names and a blockbuster Good Friday footy spectacular.

Kicking off on Thursday night under lights at Coopers Stadium, Norwood will host traditional rivals Port Adelaide who, along with Adelaide, return to the competition after being sidelined in 2020 due to AFL COVID-19 hub requirements.

For the first time, Good Friday will feature four SANFL matches, headlined by an afternoon match-up between last year’s premiers Woodville-West Torrens and Sturt at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval – the first Channel 7 SANFL broadcast match for 2021. The Eagles also will unveil the 2020 Premiership Flag to their fans pre-match.

In what will be a welcome site at suburban grounds across Adelaide, current SANFL Club COVID Management Plans will permit between approximately 3,500 and 5,000 spectators at games, depending on capacity of the stadium, and masks will not be mandatory.

A League already filled with big-name players, SANFL clubs have added more firepower to their ranks for 2021, including former AFL stars like triple Hawthorn premiership-winning forward Paul Puopolo, who returns to Norwood after a decade at the Hawks, and 268-game veteran Bryce Gribbs, who is set to feature at State League level for the first time since 2006, bringing great hope to the South Adelaide faithful.

Former AFL players Riley Knight (Eagles), Patrick Wilson (Sturt) and Lachie Hosie (Glenelg) all return to their original SANFL clubs, bringing elite talent and experience at the highest level.

2021 will also feature six new senior coaches in the Statewide Super League, including dual Sturt premiership coach Marty Mattner who returns to the Double Blues and Central District premiership captain and Magarey Medallist Paul Thomas who debuts as a senior coach at Elizabeth.

Speaking at today’s official season launch, SANFL Chief Executive Officer Darren Chandler said there was an air of excitement for the season ahead after one of the most challenging periods in the League’s proud 144-year history.

“After what we endured last year as a league and football community, we have to remind ourselves just how fortunate we are to be here today to kick off what is shaping up to be an incredible year of SANFL footy,” he said.

“Importantly, we cannot forget the efforts and sacrifice of so many people, at all levels of our game, who’s unified commitment to preserving South Australian football ensured we withstood the challenges of 2020.

“More than anything, last year reinforced the importance of footy to South Australia’s social fabric and I can’t wait for the season to get underway and see the players take to the park this weekend in front of our loyal fans who’ve stood by the League and their SANFL Clubs right throughout.”

“After what we endured last year as a league and football community, we have to remind ourselves just how fortunate we are to be here today to kick off what is shaping up to be an incredible year of SANFL footy.”

SANFL CEO Darren Chandler

In addition to an action-packed opening weekend, the season fixture contains many highlights for footy fans. In mid-May, SANFL welcomes the return of the West End State game against WAFL at Adelaide Oval and last year’s Grand Finalists Woodville-West Torrens and North Adelaide will face off on Anzac Day in what is sure to be a blockbuster encounter.

During the first weekend of July, SANFL will once again celebrate Indigenous Round and this year’s Finals Series is slated to kick-off on the last weekend of August with the 2021 Statewide Super League Grand Final scheduled for Sunday 19 September.

SANFL Club memberships offer fans the best value access to matches in 2021.

For single match day tickets, SANFL is encouraging fans to pre-purchase tickets online via the home club website at the discounted price of $15 per adult and $9 for concession.

Tickets will also be available for purchase at the gate (adult $16, concession $10). All under 18s are free entry at all matches.

For COVID contact tracing, every patron attending games will be required to check in with the QR Code or written register at the gate. Further information on tickets is available on the SANFL website or club websites.

Round One match and broadcast details

Thursday April 1

Norwood v Port Adelaide | Coopers Stadium | 7:40pm | 1629 SEN SA & SEN App | SANFL Digital Pass

Friday April 2

South Adelaide v Adelaide | Flinders University Stadium | 1:10pm | SANFL Digital Pass

Central District v North Adelaide | X Convenience Oval | 2:10pm | SANFL Digital Pass

Eagles v Sturt | Maughan Thiem Kia Oval | 2:35pm | Channel 7 and 7plus

Glenelg v West Adelaide | ACH Group Stadium | 4:10pm | SANFL Digital Pass