Regions Celebrated In This Year’s AFL Gather Round

South Australian Tourism Commission

Regions throughout South Australia will be an integral part of this year’s AFL Gather Round, as the AFL and SANFL confirmed the return of the Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow which gets underway today.

The South Australian Government, through the South Australian Tourism Commission proudly supports the Gather Round Community Roadshow which will travel to more than 30 regional towns across 21 days, covering more than 4,000 kilometres.

The Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow – a key curtain-raiser to the nine AFL Gather Round matches held in SA next month – will take in some of the state’s smaller communities as well as the larger regional centres.

Each stop on the action-packed Roadshow will feature family-friendly activities for locals including sausage sizzles and kick and catch clinics. Fans will also have the chance to get up close with the 2024 AFL and AFLW Premiership cups and the perpetual SANFL Thomas Seymour Hill Trophy and the SANFL Women’s League Premiership cup.

The Roadshow spectacle returns to towns including Berri in the Riverland, Mount Gambier in the Limestone Coast and Port Lincoln in the Eyre Peninsula. This year, the Roadshow will visit many new destinations, including first visits to Kangaroo Island and the Barossa.

There is a focus on taking the Roadshow to smaller communities; among them, Ungarra and Port Neill on the Eyre Peninsula, and Kalangadoo in the state’s South East.

Ungarra Primary School (28 students) will be among 35 regional schools hosting a Roadshow visit.

This year, every regional junior football club in the state will receive 15 brand-new Sherrin footballs as part of Roadshow celebrations.

Other new additions to feature on the tour are women and girls football education sessions, coach education sessions, regional umpire recruitment and development, and a roll out of the Tackle your Feelings mental health training program for clubs.

The Roadshow will first tour through the Riverland, starting in Berri, before heading to Kangaroo Island, then the Adelaide Hills, Eyre Peninsula, Barossa, and finishing in the state’s South-East.

Last year, the Roadshow reached 5,000 fans in regional towns.

In its inaugural year, the AFL Gather Round contributed more than $83 million to the South Australian economy and generated more than 150,000 visitor nights in SA.

All nine matches were sold out, with 268,000 fans attending matches, including more than 40,000 people from interstate.

One of the spin-offs from the inaugural AFL Gather Round in 2023, was an $8 million Football Facilities Fund to support continued growth of the game announced by the AFL, SANFL and the South Australian Government.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said the AFL Gather Round is a hugely popular event that enriches South Australia’s major events calendar and generates significant return for the state’s visitor economy.

“Once again this year, people living in regional South Australia are a big part of the month-long footy festival with the Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow travelling to more than 30 regional towns from the state’s far west to the state’s south-east,” Minister Bettison said.

“The Roadshow is an important part of the footy festival, helping extend the benefits of this major event across the state and I am thrilled this year’s Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow will travel to new destinations, including Kangaroo Island.”

AFL Executive General Manager of Game Development, Rob Auld said it has been delightful to work with the SANFL and South Australian Tourism Commission for a second year to deliver the Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow – giving footy fans around the state a chance to connect with the game in the lead up to this exciting marquee round.

“To have our AFL and AFLW premiership cups travel through the heartland of South Australian football is a great way to engage with communities and grow Australian football even further as we strive to have footy in every home,” Mr Auld said.

“Along with getting up close to the ultimate silverware, the roadshow also consists of NAB AFL Auskick clinics, school visits, local club visits, women and girls’ education sessions and health and wellbeing sessions – all important game development initiatives aimed at giving back to the community.”

SANFL Executive General Manager, Matt Duldig said the Roadshow is a fantastic opportunity to help inspire young players and grow the game in regional communities, especially in areas which have been doing it tough the past few years.

“Of the 52,000-plus players in SA, over half are in regional communities – the Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow is therefore a great way to allow these players, as well as the hundreds of coaches, umpires and volunteers, to embrace this historic event in their hometowns,” Mr Duldig said.

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