Footy excitement ramping up as GNFL puts best talent forward with return of the all-star exhibition match

Headshot of Fraser Williams
Fraser WilliamsMidwest Times
Representatives from the men's, women's and colts all star teams.
Camera IconRepresentatives from the men's, women's and colts all star teams. Credit: Fraser Williams/Geraldton Guardian

Great Northern Football League’s top talent hit the track this week for the all-star exhibition match, marking the beginning of the 2024 season with round one right around the corner.

Following the debut of the game last year, the GNFL has brought it back this year as it is quickly becoming a regular event in the league’s calendar.

As Great Northern league’s side returned to country week last year, the game serves as a preview for what the squad can look like for this year.

While the teams have not been finalised yet, there will be some big star power on display with the likes of JJ Clune co-winners Flynn Dillon and Kim Schofield, along with league leading goal kicker Harry Taylor who have all been confirmed in the side.

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Men’s all-star and country week coach Leith Teakle said they brought the exhibition match back following how well it worked last year.

“It was a success last year and a good opportunity to do something a bit different, players embrace it, the community embraced it so thought we would do it again this year,” he said.

With all the excitement of the all-star game, this year the players have some added incentive of lacing up for the match.

“This year, unlike last year, everyone who plays in this all-star game will get an invitation to join the squad for country week,” Teakle said.

“That will add a little bit more of a reward for the guys playing, that they’ll automatically give them a chance to come and try out, hopefully that’ll mean good numbers and pressure for spots for country week.”

The exhibition match serves as the grounds for country week, which saw Great Northern field a side once again last year in the men’s.

After falling short in the grand final, the expectations this year are to go all the way.

“Last year there was a groundswell of optimism and people really keen to make sure that the GNFL were represented again,” Teakle said.

“We did that, fortunately we got a team on the park and we competed really well but lost the grand final.

“This year the aim really is to go down and be competitive, try and get us back into A-grade where I think GNFL community and GNFL people think we belong.”

Each club will be well represented on the weekend, with every team nominating players for the squad, which will bring the entire community together.

“Making it an all-star game of all the clubs has been important, I think it also helps make sure it’s embraced by the whole GNFL,” Teakle said.

“Not one or two strong clubs, or clubs don’t feel left out. It’s really been supported by all the clubs, which I think is very important for the success.”

The all-star games will take place this weekend at Wonthella Oval, with women’s kicking off at 1.30pm, colts at 3pm then league at 4.30pm.

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