By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL is preparing to reignite its fierce rivalry with the VFL through a highly-anticipated State League clash to be held in Adelaide during the 2024 AFL Gather Round festival.
The West End State team – to be coached again by Norwood premiership mentor Jade Rawlings – will tackle the Big V for the first time since 2016 within the weekend of April 4-7, with a venue and date still to be confirmed.
Coming off four wins against the WAFL in succession, SANFL stars will have two opportunities to don the cherished red guernsey next year, including the annual KIA State Game to be played against the WAFL in May next year.
SANFL Executive General Manager Football Matt Duldig said the match provided a unique opportunity to showcase the talent in the Hostplus SANFL League on a national stage as part of Gather Round.
“We are thrilled to see the return of a SANFL versus VFL match for the first time since 2016 – and to play it over Gather Round provides a fantastic experience for the best players of the Hostplus SANFL League,” Duldig said.
”To reignite a rivalry that dates back to the late 1800s is really exciting, and to do that over Gather Round when football is on show in SA, will be a treat for footy lovers from all over the country.”
SANFL triumphed against the VFL by 19 points at Adelaide Oval under the guidance of Graham Cornes in 2016, with the VFL ceasing its involvement in State representative football after its loss to the WAFL in 2017.
SANFL Executive General Manager Matt Duldig
''To reignite a rivalry that dates back to the late 1800s is really exciting, and to do that over Gather Round when football is on show in SA, will be a treat for footy lovers from all over the country.''
The Croweaters boast an admirable record against their Victorian foes, winning six of their past seven meetings with their only loss coming in 2002 at the Adelaide Oval.
“Having a VFL versus SANFL state league representative game back on the calendar in 2024 is really exciting for the competition and the VFL-listed players in contention for selection,” AFL Head of State Leagues, Jennie Loughnan, said.
“It gives the best players in the VFL the opportunity to aspire to wear the famous ‘Big V’ jumper and showcase their talent on a weekend where all AFL clubs will be in South Australia for Gather Round, with AFL recruiters watching on. I thank the SANFL for working with us and acknowledge the VFL clubs who have thrown their support behind the concept.”
The full 2024 Hostplus SANFL League fixture will be released on Wednesday.