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GNFL locks in fixtures as it confirms shortened season for 2023

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Brigades Ben Brockman and Rovers Joseph Ugle and Glen Prosser.
Camera IconBrigades Ben Brockman and Rovers Joseph Ugle and Glen Prosser. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

Footy is on the horizon for Geraldton with the release of the Great Northern Football League’s fixtures.

The 2023 season will kick off on April 29.

As has become tradition last year, grand finalists will open the season with reigning premiers Rover Football Club playing at home against the Brigades Hawks.

Towns will play Mullewa in what could be a huge litmus test for both sides that struggled last season, while Northampton will host a northern derby against Chapman Valley. Both sides will be hopeful of finals this year.

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Railways will have to wait until round two on May 6 to kick off their season when they play Towns at home, which will officially be John Reynolds’ first game as senior coach.

However, the big change to this year’s fixtures has been a return to a 14-round season, down from 17 last year.

GNFL president Carrissa Bellottie said the move was based on feedback from clubs.

“The GNFL’s decision to shorten the 2023 season took into account a number of factors and we believe that shortening the season will be of benefit to the entire football community,” she said.

“This includes our volunteers who are the backbone of all our clubs, including the GNFL board. As the clubs will see teams evenly play each other twice, they will also have two club byes and two general byes.”

Finals will begin on August 19 and the grand final has been brought forward a week to September 2.

The shortened structure will also remove the split final two rounds, though Bellottie said the change might not be permanent.

“At this stage there is no move to lock a shortened season as a standard moving forward, and this will be reviewed at the end of the 2023 season,” Bellottie said.

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