WARRNAMBOOL will host a VFL match between Coburg Tigers and Geelong Cats next year.
The feline rivals are scheduled to meet at Reid Oval on July 1 in a bid to promote the VFL brand in country areas.
Coburg football manager Craig Byron told The Standard yesterday the club was excited to play its home game in the south-west. He said the club made the decision after some encouragement from its AFL affiliate Richmond.
“We were searching for areas where we could extend the VFL brand and give Coburg a bit of exposure,” Byron said.
“Richmond had a fair bit to do with it. They have a fair few members down that way.”
Coburg and Geelong have direct AFL affiliations.
Byron said there was a good chance south-west supporters would see both the better-known players and rising stars of the game.
“Half of our team will be made up of Richmond players,” he said.
“It will probably be the same case for Geelong.
“People will be able to get up close and personal to the players without the security of somewhere like the MCG.”
Byron said Coburg was also attracted to Warrnambool after witnessing the popularity of the Gatorade Replay between 1991 Warrnambool and District league grand finalists Old Collegians and Merrivale in August.
He hopes the VFL match has a similar reception.
“I haven’t been to Warrnambool in years but I remember it being pretty windy,” Byron laughed.
“But it still can’t be as bad as some of the places we play.”
Three country matches have been included in the VFL’s 2012 fixture, which was released yesterday. Coburg features in two of them. The Tigers will venture to Shepparton in round 11 to play Bendigo before heading to Warrnambool in round 14.
“It’s all a bit new to us,” he said. “But we hope it works out.”
The Sunday match between Coburg and Geelong will follow the Hampden league encounter between Warrnambool and Port Fairy at Reid Oval the previous day.
Outgoing Hampden CEO Stephen Soulsby said the league’s junior competition could provide pre-game entertainment for the VFL game.
“The league has discussed the option of playing a Warrnambool home game of junior under 14s and under 16s with Coburg as a curtain raiser to the VFL match, as the league’s juniors currently play on Sundays,” Soulsby said.
“The league along with the WDFNL and Warrnambool City Council are yet to finalise all arrangements for the weekend (but) this will be confirmed closer to July 1.”
Meanwhile, Geelong has indicated its interest in playing a VFL home game in Colac in 2013 against Werribee.
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