The AFL Aussie rules football league has confirmed today (Thursday) that Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium will host a landmark State of Origin match to raise funds for the bushfire relief effort in Australia.
Victoria will face off against an All-Stars line-up on February 28. Money raised from the match will be donated to a community relief fund set up by the AFL to help rebuild Aussie rules facilities torn apart by the ongoing bushfires in Australia.
The AFL has committed Aus$1.35m (£710,000/€834,000/$926,000) towards the relief effort, with clubs providing Aus$900,000 and the AFL Players Association pledging Aus$250,000.
The match will be played during the second weekend of the pre-season Marsh Community Series and will see players selected in a to-be-determined process.
The AFL Women’s match between Collingwood and Melbourne scheduled for February 28 at Victoria Park will now be played at Marvel Stadium as part of a double-header with the State of Origin fixture.
The AFL last staged a State of Origin game in 1999, when Victoria beat South Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). However, a 2008 Hall of Fame Tribute Match saw Victoria defeat a Dream Team in front of 69,294 fans at the MCG.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said: “Our industry is heartbroken by the devastation that the fires are causing around the country and our clubs and players have suggested a number of initiatives where we can support affected communities in the short and longer term as they deal with the aftermath of these fires.
“A game of footy can’t change what has happened but it is a way for all of our clubs, our players and our fans to acknowledge the incredible sacrifice that so many have made in battling the fires and to support those communities that have been impacted by the bushfires.”
It was announced earlier this week that Sydney’s ANZ Stadium will host a concert on February 16 to raise money for the bushfire relief cause. The ‘Fire Fight Australia’ concert will include performances from international and local artists.
Image: Marvel Stadium