By ZAC MILBANK
The 2020 Statewide Super League fixtures have been released and, in a first for SANFL, three men’s matches will be played as double-headers with AFL fixtures at Adelaide Oval.
The Magpies will face North Adelaide before the AFL match between Port Adelaide and Carlton on Saturday May 2, while the first SANFL Showdown will be held as a precursor to the AFL Showdown between cross-town rivals Adelaide and Port Adelaide on Sunday June 14.
South Adelaide also will play a match against Adelaide’s SANFL team at Adelaide Oval on Saturday July 4 before the Crows versus St Kilda game, with Panthers’ home match ticket holders to be provided entry as per a regular home game at Noarlunga.
“Introducing Statewide Super League matches to be played as double-headers with AFL fixtures provides an exciting opportunity for SANFL players to experience playing on Adelaide Oval ahead of the Finals Series in September,’’ SANFL Head of Football Operations Tom Hurley said.
“It also presents an excellent opportunity to expose the competition to more South Australian football fans.”
Season-ticket holders for the competing SANFL clubs will be granted entry to their team’s Adelaide Oval double-header as per a regular minor round fixture at a suburban venue.
Hurley said capitalising on the likelihood of favourable weather conditions early in the season was a key focus, with six Friday fixtures being played within the opening two rounds.
“We are continuously looking to maximise player experience and fan engagement with the match program,’’ he said.
“With a diverse match-day spread, including a focus on Friday night football, there is a great chance for SANFL supporters to access high-quality state league football across the course of the year.”
Following on from last year’s successful introduction of Men’s and Women’s League double-headers, there will be a further 10 played in 2020 as both competitions cross over in the early part of the season.
SANFL’s rivalry with the WAFL will continue in 2020, with the Croweaters and Sandgropers vying for the Haydn Bunton Junior Cup at Adelaide Oval after the AFL match between Adelaide and Fremantle on Saturday May 9.
“State representative football provides an aspirational opportunity for SANFL players to play football with the best players in the competition,’’ Hurley said.
“Playing at Adelaide Oval is a deserved reward for those who are selected and will be a memorable experience for all involved.”
Statewide Super League football will hit the road again next year, with a contest between Woodville-West Torrens and South Adelaide scheduled for Saturday July 11 in Kadina as part of the 2020 SA Country Football Championships.
All Statewide Super League major round games will be held at Adelaide Oval, with the Grand Final being played on Sunday September 20.