Geraldton gunning for NAB Challenge match
Geraldton is vying for an AFL NAB Challenge match and the campaign has already generated unwavering support from the community.
The City of Greater Geraldton and the Great Northern Football League have teamed up to present a strong case to bring one of the AFL’s pre-season games to the region.
City of Greater Geraldton Acting Mayor Neil McIlwaine said the economic benefits of an AFL game in Geraldton would be huge.
“A NAB Challenge game in Geraldton would generate over $1million into our economy,” he said.
“We know how much our community loves sport and we have already seen strong support to get the game here.
“We hope everyone will get behind this and help us to get it over the line.”
A letter of offer has been submitted to the AFL to help secure the game which would take place in early 2017.
GNFL President Colin Cox said the GNFL had been working towards this goal for some time.
“We are very close to being selected to host a match and a big thank you goes to the City for their help and determination in making it happen,” he said.
“The last NAB Challenge game in the region was in 2004 and since then, suitable lighting to enable games to be played at night have been installed.
“As the lights have now come to fruition the Midwest look forward to holding a NAB Challenge game allowing thousands of people across the region to access to the sport which they love and passionately support.”
Mr Cox also highlighted the fact that the Midwest produced 18.43 draftees for every 1000 male players aged between 13 and 18 for the period of 1998 to 2010. The "yield" figure was sixth-best in the country.
“The Midwest AFL production line includes past players Chris Mainwaring, Murray Wrensted, Graham Polak, Troy Cook, Daniel Chick and Brad Tunbridge, along with many others,” he said.
“If WA’s Jaeger O'Meara and Jack Martin live up to the wraps, they won't just be following in the footsteps of fellow Midwest products Josh Kennedy, Paul Haselby and Harry Taylor, rather O'Meara and Martin will be reaffirming a statistically proven fact – that WA's Midwest produces more AFL draftees per 1000 players than any other development region in the state.”
Councillor McIlwaine is urging the community to show their support online.
“We would love for everyone to head on over to the ‘Bring a NAB Cup game to Geraldton’ Facebook page and like it and share it with your friends,” he said.
“Comment and post on the page to show your support and tell us what AFL teams you would like to see play in Geraldton.
“Seeing a huge amount of support, especially online, gives us more backing and builds a case to the AFL on how successful the event will be in the Midwest.
“We want the community, sporting groups and local businesses to really get behind this – without you, we cannot do it.”
The decision as to whether Geraldton will secure a NAB Challenge match will be made in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, community members can head to www.facebook.com/NABCupInGero and show their support by liking, sharing and commenting on the page.