LATROBE Valley football fans will get to see some of the nation’s best footballers compete in their own backyard with the AFL announcing Moe will host a preseason fixture in March.
Collingwood will battle it out with Richmond as part of the newly-rebranded Community Challenge preseason competition at Ted Summerton Reserve on Saturday, 11 March.
AFL Gippsland region general manager Travis Switzer said he was excited the region would be hosting two well-supported clubs and expected a big turn out.
“We got a feeling we were going to get two big clubs and we were rapt,” Mr Switzer said.
“(That) Saturday’s on a long weekend; we’re expecting a lot of people to come from outside town and Gippsland and Latrobe Valley people to get behind it.” Previous AFL preseason fixtures have attracted crowds between 5000 and 10,000 and Mr Switzer said he expected next year’s fixture to exceed those figures.
“It’s pretty close to the start of the season, so I imagine they’ll have pretty reasonable lists running around as they’re gearing up for the season to start,” Mr Switzer said.
“It should make for a cracking game of footy and we hope to get as many there as possible.”
In 2009 it was announced Ted Summerton Reserve would receive a major upgrade worth $3.15 million which transformed the ground into one of the region’s premier sporting venues.
Moe Football Club president Manny Gelagotis said the fixture showed the importance of developing quality facilities.
“It’s a clear statement that when you do invest and create a quality outcome, whether it be a new building or sporting facility, you’re going to attract the best,” Mr Gelagotis said.
Latrobe City mayor Kellie O’Callaghan said the event would provide inspiration for the region’s young footballers.