WAFL match locked-in for Albany

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

The Great Southern region will play host to its second WAFL game in three years after it was announced Claremont will take on South Fremantle at the newly built Centennial Stadium, Albany in April.

A revamped Sounness Park in Mt Barker hosted a country WAFL fixture in 2015 between Claremont and Swan Districts, and three years later, the region will again be in the spotlight in round 5 of the 2018 WAFL season after their fixtures were officially released on Saturday.

South Fremantle last played in the Great Southern region in 2009, when they took on Claremont at Collingwood Park and the match is expected to attract plenty of interest, with a host of local products at both clubs.

Former West Coast Eagles and St Kilda big man Beau Maister, who hails from Railways, and ex-Port Adelaide listed defender Jesse Laurie from Denmark-Walpole, are two of the big-name Great Southern players on Claremont’s senior list. Claremont have the Great Southern as part of their WAFL zone from which to recruit players, and currently have 17 players from the region on their senior list for 2018.

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Three-time Bernie Naylor medallist and high-flying Mt Barker forward Ben Saunders, along with former Royals defender Steven Edwards, will be local drawcards for South Fremantle.

Claremont chief executive Graham Moss was in Albany yesterday and said he was delighted to be bringing one of two country games next year to the region.

“We have a strong association with the Great Southern area and the players it has produced,” Moss said.

“South Fremantle were also keen to support this game given they have the adjoining country region.

“This is a superb ground and a superb facility, and we hope to put on a great spectacle.”

WAFL general manager Steve Hargrave said they were looking forward to playing a game at Centennial Stadium and congratulated Claremont Football Club, South Fremantle Football Club and the City of Albany on forming a partnership to play the game in the region. “It’s great to see clubs taking games to the country so that local fans can experience a WAFL game in their own backyard,” Hargrave said.

“The WAFL has a proud history of playing regional fixtures, with more than 70 games played in country WA since 1984.”

“Regional areas such as the Great Southern have been great breeding grounds for WAFL talent, so it’s really important that WAFL clubs continue to encourage growth and development in these areas.”

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