Rivalries to open GFNL season

December 21, 2023 12:59 pm in by
Newtown & Chilwell and St Mary's will renew acquaintances in the opening round of the 2024 GFNL season. (Sports Media/Marcel Berens)

A trio of longstanding rivalries will open the 2024 GFNL season.

AFL Barwon has confirmed the highly-anticipated fixture, with 2023 finalists Newtown & Chilwell to host St Mary’s at Elderslie Reserve, Grovedale and South Barwon to do battle for the John Nankervis Shield at Burdoo Reserve, and North Shore and Lara fighting out the Paddy Cahir Cup at Windsor Park.

The clash between the Tigers and Swans will see Jacob Spolding make his senior coaching debut with Grovedale after spending 2023 in the South Barwon coaches’ box as an assistant to Mark Neeld.

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The matchup between the Cats and Seagulls could mark the return of Devon Smith in the Hoops after a ruptured Achilles wiped out his 2023 season.

Leopold will unfurl its second GFNL premiership flag when it hosts Geelong West at Memorial Park, Bell Park meets Colac at Hi Sushi Oval, and St Albans takes on St Joseph’s at Concept Oval.


Fixture highlights include:

  • The 15th Anzac Day meeting between Joeys and South, with Drew Oval as next year’s venue.
  • Lara and Grovedale to do battle in the annual Spirit of Anzac matchup on April 28
  • Round 10 will see the first of two grand final rematches between South Barwon and Leopold. The second will be just five rounds later.
  • St Albans and Lara will meet in a standalone clash on July 6 when the remainder of the competition has its mid-season bye.
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Aside from the Spirit of Anzac clash, Sunday games have been scheduled in rounds 10, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17, with the St Mary’s-St Albans meeting at Anthony Costa Oval on August 25, dependent on when Geelong’s final-round AFL meeting with West Coast at GMHBA Stadium is fixtures.

One notable absence from the fixture is the King’s Birthday weekend Sunday matchup between St Joseph’s and Newtown & Chilwell which had proven popular over the past two years.

As well as the league bye on July 6, the competition will also pause on May 25, with Round 15 split across two weekends at the start of August.

Finals are scheduled to start on Saturday, September 7, with the grand final on the AFL Grand Final public holiday, Friday, September 27.