The Hostplus SANFL League tribute match honouring the late ”King” of South Australian football, Neil Kerley AM, will be played in Murray Bridge next Sunday August 13.
The Neil Kerley Memorial Match hosted by West Adelaide Football Club is the final of four games to be played in regional locations across the 2023 Hostplus SANFL League season.
West Adelaide and Adelaide, the two clubs Kerley was heavily involved with throughout his illustrious career, will play for the Neil Kerley Memorial Trophy at Johnstone Park, home of the Imperials Football Club.
Kerley’s wife of 67 years, Barb Kerley, said a large group of family members were looking forward to attending the inaugural tribute match.
“It’s an honour for Neil but it’s also an honour for our family,” Barb said.
“We’re all football people – our nieces and nephews are coming. It started as a family of four going, now there are 20 of us, so it will be lovely.
“There will be a lot of celebrating after…a draw would be good.”
The Round 16 clash will be played in the heart of the Bloods’ new country recruiting zone, which was expanded to include the River Murray Football League and its clubs in November last year.
West Adelaide CEO Conny Wilson said the club was committed to regional zone engagement and having the opportunity to play this match in Murray Bridge was testament to this.
“We think Neil would also be pleased to see us play off against Adelaide in Murray Bridge in front of his family and friends,” Ms Wilson said.
A member of the Australian and South Australian Football Hall of Fames, Kerley coached West Adelaide to premierships in 1961 and 1983 while playing a vital role as the Crows’ inaugural Football Manager upon the club’s AFL inception in 1991.
“As a Club we look forward to this weekend, with this game taking on particular significance, not only due to it being played in the memory of Neil, who is an icon of our game, but also that it will be played in a flood-affected region,” said Adelaide Executive General Manager Football Adam Kelly.
“Following player visits to the Riverland in early December last year and those which happened in February this year, in Waikerie, Barmera, Loxton, Berri and Renmark, this is an opportunity for us to further engage with communities that have very much been in our thoughts and were much loved by Neil.”
The match day will also feature a super rules match with Happy Valley Vikings up against Hills Super Tigers from 10am – 11:30am followed by an U18’s match with host club Imperials taking on Tailem Bend as a curtain raiser.
“SANFL is very pleased to support this wonderful initiative which will bring together community football and the SANFL Hostplus League to fittingly pay tribute to Kerls’ remarkable contribution to football, and in the region where it all started for him,” SANFL Executive General Manager Football Matt Duldig said.
Tickets for the Neil Kerley Memorial Match can be purchased online at westadelaidefc.com.au or at the gate.
MATCH AND BROADCAST DETAILS
West Adelaide v Adelaide | Johnstone Park, Murray Bridge | 2:10pm | Live stream on SANFL Now and AFL Live App & AFL.com.au