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Norwood Oval gets an AFL gig

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Norwood Oval will be Port Adelaide’s home ground for their first round AFL pre-season NAB Challenge match against West Coast on Sunday March 8.

Adelaide’s season-opener will be against North Melbourne at Port Lincoln’s Centenary Oval on Sunday March 1.

Both sides then meet each other at AAMI Stadium, West Lakes, on Saturday March 21.

The AFL released the full NAB draw today, with a focus on suburban and regional venues to host games during the month-long festival of football.

Blacktown (NSW), Mandurah (WA), Burpengary (Qld), Townsville (QLD), Fremantle Oval (WA), Coffs Harbour (NSW), Morwell, (Vic), Shepparton (Vic), North Ballarat (Vic) and Albury (NSW) will host pre-season clashes while Drummoyne (NSW), Norwood (SA) and Port Lincoln (SA) get their first taste of AFL football.

AFL general manager, broadcasting, scheduling and major projects, Simon Lethlean, said the AFL had every intention of bringing the game back to the fans in 2015, starting with pre-season games.

“Fans in regional and suburban communities across Australia are unashamedly our focus throughout next year’s NAB Challenge,” Lethlean said.

“We’re pleased to be able to take top-flight football to some of the game’s most important venues.”

In addition, the league also announced club members with game access would be entitled to attend NAB Challenge matches free of charge. Fans are being urged to sign up ahead of the start of the competition to ensure this feature applies to them.

Lethlean said the policy would come at some cost to the AFL, but reiterated the League saw great benefits associated with allowing fans to come to the NAB Challenge at no extra charge.

“There’s an impact, no doubt,” Lethlean said.

“But we think that impact is worth it for a number of reasons. It will be great for our attendances, it will be great to get fans to all our games as we lead into the season.

“We want to get our fans to as many games as we can.”

Each team will play three NAB Challenge games across four weeks in 2015. Every club will play two matches in the opening three weeks and a final game in the fourth week.

The fourth and final week of the competition will see matches staged at metropolitan AFL venues to maximise team preparations ahead of the premiership season.

The 18 games in 18 days that marked the 2014 NAB Challenge has been scrapped to accommodate a more logistically-friendly fixture.

The last week of matches will feature derbies in Western Australia, South Australia (at AAMI Stadium, West Lakes), Queensland and the ACT, along with traditional match-ups between Victorian clubs at Etihad Stadium, including a double-header at that venue on March 21.

Full draw available here.

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