West End State Team to keep the VFL at Bay

West End State Team coach Jade Rawlings (left) and former Croweaters mentor Graham Cornes plot the downfall of the Big V at Stratarama Stadium. Picture - Ash Rayson


The scene is set for SANFL to renew its rivalry with the VFL as the West End State Team plays host to the Big V at Stratarama Stadium on Saturday April 6.

With Norwood premiership mentor Jade Rawlings again in charge, the Croweaters are expected to play in front of a bumper crowd at Brighton Road as Gather Round festivities reach fever pitch.

The highly-anticipated contest – pitting the two bitter enemies against each other for the first time in eight years – will begin at the Bay from 12.40pm, allowing fans to then journey to Adelaide Oval for the AFL’s Gather Round double-header.

Speaking on SANFL Radio, Rawlings said he was honoured to guide the West End State team after steering it to victory against the WAFL on home soil last year.

Having previously coached in the VFL, the Tasmanian is expecting a bold display from the Victorians given they haven’t donned the Big V since succumbing to the WAFL in 2017.

SANFL last hosted the VFL at Adelaide Oval in 2016, with then coach Graham Cornes feeling a ”sense of relief” when the Croweaters triumphed by 19 points.

Speaking on SANFL Radio, Cornes said he was thrilled the State concept continues to live on, with the clash at the Bay giving him extra incentive to attend given his attachment to the hallowed turf as a Great of Glenelg.

The Australian and South Australian Hall of Famer also revealed what the cherished red guernsey means to him, together with telling the story of why he has an equally historic Victorian guernsey in his possession.

The Croweaters boast an admirable record against their Victorian foes, winning six of their past seven meetings with their only loss coming in 2002 at the Adelaide Oval.

It will be the first of two State clashes in 2024, with the West End State team gunning for its fifth win in succession against the WAFL as it attempts to retain the Haydn Bunton Junior Cup in May at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

West End State Coach Jade Rawlings (left) and SA Hall of Famer Graham Cornes talk tactics at Stratarama Stadium. Picture – Ash Rayson

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