THE Goulburn Valley League’s best footballers are headed to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A date inside Melbourne’s sporting cathedral is on offer after AFL Victoria announced the GVL’s interleague clash with the Ballarat Football Netball League would form part of the AFL’s Country Games celebration for 2018.
The clash will be played as a curtain-raiser for the round nine AFL game between Essendon and Geelong on May 19, with final confirmation of the venue and time to be announced in the new year.
2017 saw top-ranked Geelong Football League square off with the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League on the MCG, the GVL and the BFNL earning the rights for the 2018 edition as the highest ranked match-up of two country leagues.
The prime fixturing could serve as a boost to the GVL’s playing stocks with many of the league’s stars, including Echuca champion Simon Buckley, not putting their names up for selection in 2017.
Part of a celebration of regional Australia, AFL Victoria community football development manager Stephen O’Donohue was pleased some of the top country leagues would get a chance to put their talents on show.
‘‘The BFNL and GVL match is the highest ranked country versus country match in the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships and will showcase a high standard of football from regional Victoria,’’ he said.
‘‘The AFL Country Game is a great platform to highlight the importance of regional Victoria and for football fans of all kinds to come together and celebrate country football.’’
The GVL slipped to ninth in the league rankings after a seven-point loss to the Ovens and Murray Football League in 2017.