Great Southern Football League returns to normality in 2021 season

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Denmark-Walpole will host this year’s GSFL grand final.
Camera IconDenmark-Walpole will host this year’s GSFL grand final. Credit: Laurie Benson

The traditional Anzac Day fixture between Railways and North Albany will headline the opening round of the 2021 Great Southern Football League season but fans will have to wait a little longer to see a grand final rematch.

Royals and Denmark-Walpole, who played off in last year’s decider, will not face off until round five of the new season on May 22 at McLean Park.

In a new agreement between the Tigers and Kangas and the GSFL executive, the annual Anzac Day match-hosting rights will again be rotated between the two clubs who began the special fixture back in 2014.

The Magpies will host this year’s grand final at McLean Park, after a redevelopment that was completed in August 2019 and cost more than $1 million.

After a shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19, this year’s competition will be back to full length with 15 home and away rounds plus a regular top four finals system.

There is a split of 29 Saturday games and 16 Sunday games in the 45-match regular season, with the GSFL pushing to have at least one Sunday fixture every weekend.

Royals premiership players Jordan Heil and Nathan Powell, the Lions will start their new campaign on April 24.
Camera IconRoyals premiership players Jordan Heil and Nathan Powell, the Lions will start their new campaign on April 24. Credit: Laurie Benson

Only round 15 will have all three games played on the same day.

The Magpies will also have an increased number of home games, agreed to previously because of games lost to the redevelopment.

McLean Park will hold 10 Magpies home games this season.

The GSFL season will open with a double header on Saturday, April 24, as the reigning premiers the Lions open their campaign against Mt Barker at Sounness Park.

Spectators are likely to get their first glimpse of former AFL player Brett Peake in action when Albany begin their 2021 season at home against the Magpies.

The following day the Tigers will host the Anzac Day clash at Tigerland.

There will be a bye for the long weekend on June 5 and 6 with the GSFL hoping to participate in a carnival with Ongerup and Ravensthorpe.

The other two weekends without local footy will be for the Great Southern Colts Carnival on June 12 and 13, and the Nutrien Ag Country Football Championships on July 10-11.

GSFL president Joe Burton said it was great to have the competition back to normal after last year.

“From a league point of view, we like to have a game in Albany on a Sunday,” he said.

“Also a later start in Saturday games to accommodate juniors where we can.

“The grand final will be at McLean Park and we are returning to a normal top four finals system.

“I’m just looking forward to it kicking off.”

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