Black Swans head to Northam
Black Swans head to Northam

WA will attempt to snap a 22-year drought against Victoria when they clash with the Big V in Northam on May 11.

WA Football Commission media and communications manager Steve Tuohey said the Avon town had edged out other regional centres Kalgoorlie, Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton to host the game.

It will help ease the disappointment of Northam missing out on an AFL pre-season game for the second time recently. The NAB Cup game between Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs on March 9 was transferred to Mandurah because of concerns about the standard of Northam's new oval.

The shift revived memories of Fremantle's aborted 1996 clash with Essendon, which was switched to Fremantle Oval at late notice after temperatures in Northam had soared above 40C in the days leading up to the match.

Tuohey said he was confident the ground, which boasts a new $11 million sporting facility, would be ready in time for the clash with Victoria.

"Given that it's another two months after when the NAB Cup game was supposed to be there, we are certain the turf will be ready," Tuohey said.

"We have our Patersons Stadium turf manager continuing to liaise with the Northam shire to help them prepare the ground and are confident it will be ready for that game.

"It will be the first major football event at the venue.

"And the match will be rewarding the hard work and effort that the Northam community has put into preparing that ground for a football game."

It will be the second time a State match has been held at a country venue in WA, the Black Swans crushing Tasmania by 58 points at Kalgoorlie's Sir Richard Moore Sports Centre in 1999 in front of a bumper crowd of 7000.

The Black Swans last tasted success against Victoria in 1991 when a team coached by Barry Cable beat the Big V by 76 points at the WACA Ground. Ruckman Paul Harding was the star.

WA have beaten Victoria 24 times in 86 matches, including State of Origin, State league and against the VFA, since the first meeting in 1904.

The game, which starts at noon, will be telecast by ABC live into Victoria and delayed in WA.

Marc Webb, who guided Claremont to WAFL and Foxtel Cup grand final wins last year, will coach the Black Swans.

Webb will scrutinise potential State players when the Tigers and Swan Districts clash in a pre-season game on February 23.


  • WAFL pre-season fixtures, * *r * *ound 1: *Saturday, February 23

Claremont v Swan Districts, Claremont Oval (10.30am); Perth v South Fremantle, Brownes Stadium (2.10pm); Subiaco v East Perth, Medibank Stadium (6.30pm); Peel v East Fremantle, Bendigo Bank Stadium (6.30pm).


  • Round 2: *Saturday, March 2

Swan Districts v Perth, Steel Blue Oval (10.30am);

East Fremantle v Subiaco, East Fremantle Oval (2.10pm);

East Perth v Claremont, Medibank Stadium (6.30pm);

South Fremantle v West Perth, Fremantle Oval (6.30pm).


  • Round 3 * *: * Saturday, March 9

Perth v East Fremantle, Brownes Stadium (2.10pm);

South Fremantle v Swan Districts, Fremantle Oval (2.10pm);

Peel v West Perth, Bendigo Bank Stadium (6pm);

Subiaco v Claremont, Medibank Stadium (6.30pm).

"We have our Patersons Stadium turf manager continuing to liaise with the Northam shire.""WAFC media and communications manager *Steve Tuohey *

The West Australian

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