The rumours are true: The AFL has officially confirmed the return of a State Of Origin game, set to feature a side representing Victoria and an All-Stars side representing the rest of Australia, with money raised from the game to go directly to on-going bushfire relief efforts.
The star-studded representative match will take place on Friday, February 28th at Marvel Stadium, with all proceeds going towards a special Community Relief Fund set up by the AFL that will specifically provide funding to help rebuild country footballing facilities that have been decimated by the unprecedented bushfires.
In addition to money raised via the game, the AFL also announced a $2.5 million opening contribution to the fund, consisting of $1.35 million from the league itself, $900,000 from the 18 combined clubs, and $250,000 from the AFL Players’ Association.
The massively high-profile game – the first time a game featuring teams of top-flight footballers representing states has been held since 2008 – has also necessitated the shifting of other previously announced fixtures in order to accomodate it.
The game will take place during the second weekend of the men’s pre-season fixture. A game between West Coast and Essendon, previously scheduled for February 28th, has been brought forward to February 27th as a result.
Similarly, the AFLW clash between Collingwood and Melbourne, which was previously scheduled to take place at Victoria Park on the evening of the 28th, has now been moved to Marvel Stadium, where it will serve as a curtain-raiser for the massive Victoria/All-Stars clash.
The league has set a participation limit of 3 players per club for the rep game, in a bid to minimise the impact to regularly scheduled pre-season preparations.
Richmond coach Damian Hardwick will man the reigns of the Victorian side, while Swans coach John Longmire has been tapped to steer the All-Star side.
The game will be broadcast live by every major broadcast and streaming partner, including Seven, FOX, Kayo, and via the official AFL app.
Fundraising efforts will be bolstered by the presence of collection stations that will be present at every game of the upcoming AFLW season, which kicks off on Friday, February 7th.
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