Goulburn Valley coach Luke Morgan is confident the incentive of playing on the MCG will entice the best players for interleague duties next year.
AFL Victoria announced on Friday the Goulburn Valley’s AFL Victoria Community Championships game against Ballarat is proposed to be played at the home of the AFL grand final. The fixture will be a curtain-raiser to the AFL’s annual Country Game between Essendon and Geelong on May19.
‘‘It’s brilliant to be able to know we’ll have that player commitment, although it’s still totally to be confirmed if it’s at the MCG, but that’s how it’s looking right now, which is great,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘It’s a great drawcard to play on the MCG and we obviously want our best players playing and this will ensure that.
‘‘We’re the two highest-ranked country teams playing each other, so we’ve been given this opportunity.
‘‘The Ovens and Murray are higher ranked, but they’re playing Western Region and they’re a metro comp.
‘‘It looked like we’d be playing the Hampden league next year, but the EDFL (Essendon District Football League) have decided not to participate in rep footy next year and we’ve moved from the 9 v 10 game to 7 v 8.’’
It will be the second season in a row there has been a community game leading into the Bombers and Cats fixture, with the Geelong league defeating Mornington Peninsula this year.
Goulburn Valley last played a game on the MCG back in 2003 when it defeated West Gippsland Latrobe.
Some players will have experience of playing on the hallowed turf, including Morgan, after being part of the Murray Bushrangers’ TAC Cup grand final side in 2007.
Goulburn Valley lost its third consecutive interleague game this year, going down to Ovens and Murray in Wodonga.
Morgan said he would have more time to pick players for a squad next year, with the representative game expected to come after round six.
‘‘We’re in the process of getting the off-field structure in place soon,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘We’ll look to have an initial squad out after round two and then follow a similar format to this year with training and hopefully the extra two games will help us.’’
Goulburn Valley League chairman David Roff said everyone involved was excited about the prospect of taking centre stage at the MCG.
‘‘We would consider it a great recognition for the GVL and Ballarat to represent country footy as part of the
AFL’s Country Game celebrations,’’ Roff said.
‘‘Interleague is very important to our league and the opportunity to represent the GVL is a prestigious
honour for our players.
‘‘To play in this game will add another level for everyone involved.’’
Details surrounding under-18 football and netball are yet to be announced.