Footy clubs unite for AFL match

UNITED FORCE: Whyalla Football League officials and club presidents inspect the Bennett Oval surface in preparation for their participation in the Marsh Community Series AFL pre-season game on March 7.
UNITED FORCE: Whyalla Football League officials and club presidents inspect the Bennett Oval surface in preparation for their participation in the Marsh Community Series AFL pre-season game on March 7.

One hundred years of rivalry will be put to one side on March 7 when the Whyalla Football League (WFL) clubs unite for the Marsh Cup AFL pre-season match at Bennett Oval.

The WFL is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020 with the AFL match between the GFG-sponsored Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs looming as another great opportunity for the local league to celebrate.

The WFL and the six affiliated clubs will play a big part in the AFL match at the redeveloped Bennett Oval as they pitch in to run the new canteen and grandstand bar along with two satellite bars in the outer.

The WFL is also working closely with Port Adelaide and its Community Development team to organise coaching clinics in the week leading up to the March 7 game along with a curtain raiser and half-time kick and catch on the oval.

Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin thanked the WFL and its six clubs on joining the team for this big AFL event in Whyalla.

"This game has come about with the Gupta family sponsorship of Port Adelaide and by Council embarking on Stage 1 of the Bennett Oval redevelopment," Mayor McLaughlin said.

"Mr Gupta stated that he wanted his sponsorship to benefit Whyalla and Council shares these sentiments with the first stage of the Bennett Oval redevelopment and the work we are doing with GFG Alliance, the AFL and Port Adelaide to make this pre-season game happen.

"The Bennett Oval redevelopment an exciting project that is going to benefit the whole community and it is fantastic that the Marsh Cup game is going to be a direct win for our own local football league."

WIN FOR FOOTBALL: Whyalla Football League officials and club presidents gather to plan their participation in the March 7 match.

WIN FOR FOOTBALL: Whyalla Football League officials and club presidents gather to plan their participation in the March 7 match.

All the profits from running the canteen and the bars will go directly to the WFL and the participating clubs that provide volunteers.

WFL president Jack Velthuizen said it won't only be the profits from the canteen and bars that will benefit local football and the clubs.

"This is a great opportunity for the league and the clubs to earn some much-needed dollars with the game itself and the redevelopment of Bennett Oval is also a huge win for football in Whyalla," Jack said.

"This game, the coaching clinics and community visits by Port Adelaide players and the curtain raiser games will spark interest for young people to start playing footy and those interested in joining the umpire ranks.

"We always need umpires from boundary, goal to field umpires in all grades."

Jack said the WFL was proud to play its part as two AFL clubs play a sanctioned pre-season match in Whyalla that will have a lasting impact on the sport at grass-roots level.

"The legacy from this AFL game will be magnificent new facilities at Bennett Oval and an amazing new surface to play local games on," Jack said.

Money earned by the WFL on the day will go towards purchasing new jumpers for the return of the annual representative clash with the Spencer Gulf League this year.