By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL has released the 2021 APY League season fixture, with the nation’s most remote football competition springing into action again this year.
After season 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SANFL APY League will bounce back with a 14-round regular schedule ahead of a three-week finals series.
“The last game of organised sport on the APY Lands was the SANFL APY League Grand Final in September 2019,” SANFL Diversity Manager Shawn Ford said.
”The return of the competition in 2021 is a welcome relief for communities who have been on high alert over the past 12 months due to the COVID pandemic.”
Spanning 200,000 square kilometres across remote South Australia and Northern Territory, the APY League kicks off on Saturday April 17 with a triple-header at Ernabella.
This will be followed by a Round 1 double-header at Mutitjulu on Sunday April 18, to be played at arguably the most picturesque venue in Australia at the base of Uluru near Alice Springs.
SANFL Diversity Manager Shawn Ford said
''The SANFL APY League is unique in that it provides communities with a much-needed social outlet while indirectly addressing key issues such as school attendance, healthy lifestyle choices and community empowerment.''
Bye rounds have been scheduled for the weekends of Saturday June 12 and Saturday July 10 ahead of the major round beginning on the weekend of Saturday August 14.
The best two teams in the top six will then clash in the APY League Grand Final on Saturday August 28.
SANFL has managed the Federally-funded APY League – previously known as the Far North West Sports League – for the past 13 years, with approximately 400 players donning a guernsey each season.
The League also includes a female softball competition, with approximately 250 participants represented across 10 teams.
“The SANFL APY League is unique in that it provides communities with a much-needed social outlet while indirectly addressing key issues such as school attendance, healthy lifestyle choices and community empowerment,” Ford said.