Geelong and Essendon to play at Central Reserve in pre-season AFL JLT

Published on 26 October 2017

Councillors at the Central Reserve

Geelong and Essendon will go head to head in a pre-season JLT Community Series blockbuster at Colac’s Central Reserve on Sunday, 11 March next year.

Mayor Chris Potter said Council was thrilled to have secured an AFL practice match after months of close work with the AFL to promote the Central Reserve’s potential as a premier football venue.

“This is going to be an awesome showcase of the Central Reserve, which is now a premier regional facility thanks to the $750,000 surface upgrade and the $3 million pavilion development,” Cr Potter said.

“It was always the vision to host an AFL practice match and we are so excited to deliver this event for our community.

“I can hardly think of two better AFL teams to play in Colac – both clubs have a huge following locally.

“With Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett still on the Bombers’ list, we expect we’ll attract a significant crowd from the Cobden area and wider western district. And then there’s Colac’s Lachie Henderson in the Geelong line-up giving the match a great local flavour.

“We're expecting 8000 to 10,000 people will pack the Central Reserve for this match, bringing enormous economic benefits to our town.”

Cr Potter said the economic benefit of hosting an AFL practice match in a regional area was about $1.5 million.

AFL practice matches also bring a host of fundraising opportunities for clubs and community groups including catering, bar and gate management, car parking and associated events.

“Colac is going to be full of people on March 11 next year and it’s a great opportunity for our business community and tourism operators to really leverage off this game and create a carnival atmosphere across town,” Cr Potter said.

Cr Potter said the AFL JLT practice match was the culmination of years of lobbying and partnerships between Council, Central Reserve user groups, the wider community and the state and federal governments.

“We now have a premier facility that can be used for a variety of high profile events, and we think this AFL practice match is just the start of an exciting future for the Central Reserve,” he said.