Grand final slotted for Centennial, Anzac Day change in new GSFL fixtures

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

The Great Southern Football League have released their 2017 fixtures with the new Centennial Oval venue set to host the grand final while the annual Anzac Day clash between Railways and North Albany will be played at Tigerland.

As predicted a 15-round season was announced for the six participating clubs, meaning they will face each opponent three times with the top four playing off in the finals.

As part of the GSFL’s new rotation of the grand final venue each year, Railways were set to host the 2017 decider despite the new Centennial Oval facility almost being completed.

However, the Tigers have now swapped with Albany, a move endorsed by the league, and the Sharks will officially host this year’s grand final at the newest ground.

In another shift the Anzac Day fixture between the Tigers and Kangas, which wasn’t played on Anzac Day last season, has been reverted back to April 25 which will see the two sides play on a Tuesday — that fixture completing the opening round.

The Sharks and Royals, co-tenants of the new facility, will open the season on Saturday, April 22, at their new home Centennial Oval.

Out of town sides Mt Barker and Denmark-Walpole begin their season on April 22 as well, at McLean Park, which had its fair share of problems last year.

The GSFL also confirmed that the semifinal structure has changed with both the first and second semifinals now being played on the same weekend rather than being seven days apart, which reduces the finals series by a week.

The much-anticipated grand final rematch will be played in round 4, the Kangas to host the Bulls at Collingwood Park on Sunday, May 14.

A general bye has been slotted in for WA Day in June and no matches will be played on June 17 and 18 because of the Great Southern Colts Carnival and opening Landmark Country Football Championships match between the GSFL and Ongerup Football Association.

The GSFL v OFA fixture will be held in Borden after last year’s match was played at Sounness Park.

The league has also kept the bye the week before the remainder of the Landmark championships and the championships themselves.

The fixtures include 32 Saturday matches while 12 are played on Sunday and the sole Tuesday clash.

Again the number of home and away games on Saturday has increased compared to recent seasons.

The Sharks and Magpies have the most home games of any club with six each.

GSFL general manager Paul Higginson confirmed the Belt-Up, Volunteer Recognition, Talk to a Mate and Umpire Recognition rounds would remain as would the popular NAIDOC round.

Joe Burton will remain as GSFL president for 2017 and last weekend was also re-elected to the WA Country Football League board.

The first of the GSFL sixteens draft meetings were held with clubs last week.

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