Avalon Airport Oval @ Chirnside Park will stage its first ever JLT Community Series match and what shapes as one of its biggest ever events when its hosts North Melbourne and St Kilda on Saturday, March 2.
The AFL today launched the fixture for its 2019 pre-season competition at Werribee’s home ground, confirming the recently revamped facility as one of three new community football venues selected for hosting duties.
The match will be the first of a big double-header of AFL action at Avalon Airport Oval that weekend, with the league on Friday confirming the ground would also host the Kangaroos and Adelaide in its first ever AFLW match on Sunday, March 3.
Speaking from the JLT Community Series launch at Chirnside Park, AFL general manager of fixturing Travis Auld was full of praise for the venue.
“The JLT Series is a great opportunity to take our men’s elite game to regional suburban grounds around the country, and this year is no different,” Mr Auld said.
“This great venue here in Werribee is a wonderful new facility and a great example of government investing in a community facility that we would love to advantage of and which we will do on March 2.”
Since the completion of its $11.75 million redevelopment in April, Avalon Airport Oval has quickly established itself as an in-demand venue for elite football, hosting North Melbourne VFL games and TAC Cups girls’ and boys’ matches – among them the TAC Cup girls’ grand final – in addition to Werribee’s home games.
Werribee CEO Mark Penaluna expected the match could draw a crowd to rival that of the bumper attendance that witnessed his club’s thrilling home draw against the Gold Coast in the Suns’ sole VFL season in 2010.
“It’s a huge event for us,” Mr Penaluna said.
“A significant reason for our club tipping $1 million into this facility was to allow it to host major events such as this, so this is a fantastic result.
“Of course, Wyndham City Council, the federal and state governments, and both the AFL and AFL Victoria have all made significant financial contributions as well, so we are incredibly grateful for their support in making this a reality.”