FOR the first time since 2009 Gippsland is set to host a VFL home and away match on Saturday.
The match between two powerhouses of Australian sport, Collingwood and Richmond, will be staged at Morwell Recreation Reserve.
Collingwood VFL general manager Luke Gatti praised the ground as “better than a lot of the grounds they currently play on” and Morwell is excited to host.
“Given that these two clubs have large Gippsland supporter groups it’s a great way for the clubs to showcase their next generation of stars in Gippsland as well as thanking their supporters in a way,” Morwell Football Netball Club president Wade Presley said.
Presley said growing links between country leagues and the VFL would ultimately strengthen local competition.
“I think it is fantastic to see a lot of Gippsland footballers now chancing their luck to play football at VFL level,” he said.
“Some local clubs may feel some short term pain when their players head to Melbourne to play, but I think in the long run the majority of them return to home clubs and it is then the clubs really benefit.” Both sides have a number of quality AFL players running around in their VFL ranks.
The Pies boast names like Ben Hudson, Ben Sinclair, Patrick Karnezis and Taylor Adams, while the Richmond team has the likes of Aaron Edwards, Ricky Pettard and Tyrone Vickery, who have all played at the top level.
Adding to the mix are local names like Ben Kearns, Ryan Pendlebury, Andrew McQualter and Luke Collins who could all be playing on the day.
The game will kick off at 2pm with gates opening at noon.
There will be plenty of activity on the day with both Gippsland supporter groups in attendance.
Gippsland’s Richmond Supporters group will host a function after the game at the Morwell Italian Australian Club.
The Richmond players, coaches, trainers and support staff will have a meal, followed by a meet and greet for the fans.
Players will be available for autographs and photos.
All are welcome to attend, and the group will also watch a replay of Richmond’s AFL match against St Kilda.
There will be raffles run during the evening, with prizes including a Richmond VFL jumper signed by the team.
VFL round 12
Collingwood v Richmond
Gates open at noon
Morwell Recreation Reserve