By ZAC MILBANK
An exciting Easter footy feast is a key feature of the 2022 Hostplus SANFL League fixture, with five games to be played on Good Friday for the first time.
After setting the Good Friday footy trend with the first match played between South Adelaide and Sturt in 2012, SANFL will build on its hosting of four games in 2021 by adding an extra match this year.
All Round 3 games will be played on Friday April 15, starting with the Panthers and Double Blues at Flinders University Stadium from 1.10pm followed by regular Good Friday combatants North Adelaide and Central District at Prospect Oval from 2.10pm.
The twilight timeslot of 4.10pm will play host to Glenelg and Adelaide at ACH Group Stadium as well as Woodville-West Torrens and West Adelaide at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.
Fierce foes Norwood and Port Adelaide will cap off a blockbuster day in the Hostplus SANFL League with a clash under lights at The Parade from 7.40pm.
“To have a record five games played on Good Friday across the afternoon and at night will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the Hostplus SANFL League and maximise attendances,” SANFL General Manager Football Matt Duldig said.
“We know from previous years that fans and players enjoy footy on Good Friday and it’s become a terrific day for families to get out and support their favourite SANFL Club at the start of the Easter weekend.”
Just one week later, Norwood and West Adelaide will do battle at Port Lincoln’s Centenary Oval on Sunday April 24 from 2.10pm, ensuring three Hostplus SANFL League matches are played in regional South Australia this season.
The Round 4 contest between the Redlegs and Bloods in the Legs’ country zone will precede West Adelaide and Port Adelaide playing the Russell Ebert Tribute Match in Loxton on Sunday May 22.
SANFL General Manager Football Matt Duldig
“To have a record five games played on Good Friday across the afternoon and at night will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the Hostplus SANFL League and maximise attendances.''
North Adelaide will then host Adelaide at Bennett Oval in Whyalla on Saturday July 16 as a feature match within the Think! Road Safety South Australian Country Championships being played at the same venue.
”The Country Championships is a significant annual event for football in South Australia, with the aim of showcasing country football at its best, and we’re thrilled to be able to feature a Hostplus SANFL League game as part of this,” Mr Duldig said.
“This will also be a great opportunity for the City of Whyalla to capitalise on its outstanding Bennett Oval facility which was recognised as State winner of the 2021 AFL Community Facility Project of the Year.”
SANFL’s traditional Grand Final rematch on Anzac Day will continue with the Eagles hosting the Bays at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval from 2.10pm on April 25.
Times and dates for the opening six rounds of the Hostplus SANFL League season have been confirmed, with the majority of those from Round 7 onwards to be announced later in the season.
All finals will again be played at Adelaide Oval, with the major round starting on Sunday August 28 before the Grand Final taking place on Sunday September 18.
SANFL will continue to raise awareness for mental health with the Breakthrough Mental Health Round on May 7-8 while the League’s rich history of Aboriginal players will be celebrated through Indigenous Round on the weekend of Saturday July 2.
The 2022 season marks the start of a new naming rights partnership between SANFL and Hostplus, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, which was announced last week by SANFL.
The partnership will see Hostplus have the naming rights for both the SANFL Women’s and Men’s Leagues until at least the end of 2023.
Telecast partner Channel 7 will continue to broadcast a Match of the Round weekly while all SANFL League games will be available live and on demand via the new-look SANFL Now streaming service.