VICTORIAN FOOTY FEAST UNDER LIGHTS ON AFL GRAND FINAL WEEKEND
AFL Victoria is pleased to announce that both the 2008 TAC Cup and VFL Grand Finals will be played under lights at Telstra Dome on Friday, September 26.
The huge double-header is sure to whet the appetite of footy followers for what shapes as a bumper AFL Grand Weekend in 2008, football’s 150th year.
The TAC Cup Grand Final will start at 4.30pm followed by the VFL Grand Final at 7.40pm.
AFL Victoria Chief Executive Officer Peter Schwab said the event shaped as a real treat for not only Victoria’s passionate footy followers but also visitors from interstate and overseas.
“This will be a real celebration of Victorian football and the indelible mark it has left on the state for 150 years,” Schwab said.
“The VFL is the state’s oldest football competition while the TAC Cup is a proven pathway to the elite level.
“With the buzz in the air come September, there is no better way to kick off AFL Grand Final weekend than at Telstra Dome featuring the nation’s best state-based competition in the VFL and junior competition in the TAC Cup.”
Telstra Dome Chief Executive Ian Collins AM said hosting the VFL and TAC Cup Grand Finals would be another fantastic event not only for Telstra Dome but Melbourne as well.
Mr Collins said it made perfect sense to stage the two matches on the one programme at Telstra Dome, the night before the AFL Grand Final.
“With 2008 a celebration of 150 years of football, it is fitting that the VFL should be rewarded for both its enormous contribution to the game and the role it’s played in growing football in Victoria,” Mr Collins said.
Mr Collins said staging the event at Telstra Dome should help to give the two Grand Finals a greater profile hopefully leading to a big attendance.
“With so many interstate tourists in Melbourne for the AFL Grand Final, it really makes for a Melbourne footy feast and we congratulate the VFL for its initiative and its assistance in the organisation of this event,” Mr Collins said.
“We are especially delighted to play a part in giving VFL and TAC Cup players a chance to play on a big stage on football’s biggest weekend of the year.”
One AFL player that has blossomed since developing his trade in both the TAC Cup and VFL competitions is Hawthorn Captain Sam Mitchell.
Overlooked initially by AFL clubs despite two best and fairests with TAC Cup club Eastern Ranges, Mitchell persevered at VFL club Box Hill Hawks and was duly drafted by Hawthorn in 2001. In 2002, he won the Liston Trophy, the VFL’s best and fairest award, with a record 31 votes and made his Hawthorn debut.
Mitchell credited the premier state football competitions as a key to his success.
“Both the TAC Cup and VFL have played a significant role in helping me prepare for life as an AFL footballer,” Mitchell said.
“It is great that the importance of this competition has been recognised with the announcement that both finals will take place on the AFL Grand Final Eve at Telstra Dome – and I would encourage all football fans to get along and see the best state based football in Australia.”