Start date: After an a near 19-month break, East Point and Sebastopol are set to renew rivalries in the first round of BFNL action. Photo: FILE

BFNL draw locked in

February 11, 2021 BY

ACTION in the McDonalds Ballarat Football Netball League has a start date following the release of the senior fixture for 2021.

Games will get underway on 17 April for an 18-round home and away season followed by four weeks of finals, with the premiership set to be decided on Saturday, 18 September at Mars Stadium.

After last year’s season never got going, BFNL general manager Shane Anwyl said anticipation for the return of footy and netball was growing.

“Whatever fixture we put out I think everyone would be excited for,” he said. “Everyone wants to just get back to football and netball and come 17 April I think there’ll be quite a lot of interest.”

While the spectre of COVID is ever present, Anwyl said all stakeholders were remaining as flexible as possible.

“We’ve done a standard fixture, but clubs are aware that things may change depending on the circumstances and we can only make those judgments as we become aware of them,” he said.

Eight games over the first four rounds are set to take place under lights, while the Queen’s Birthday long weekend will see a competition-wide bye in place of interleague games.

Despite not being currently listed in the fixture some feature rounds will still take place this season.

“There won’t be the number of theme rounds that we’ve had previously because it is a very back to basics process this year to minimise costs,” Anwyl said.

“There will be some theme rounds, the Indigenous round in particular as it aligns with the AFL, and possibly one or two others.”

The A Grade netball 2019 grand final rematch between North Ballarat and East Point is set for 22 May, while the senior football premiership replay will see the ‘Roos and ‘Burra go under lights in round one.

Anwyl said East Point versus Sebas matchup was something both clubs had pushed for.

“It’s a deliberate move and was requested,” he said. “We’re more than happy to accommodate that and it’s certainly going to be a good way to kick-off the season.

“Under lights down at Eastern Oval, I’d expect it to be a really big crowd and one of our marquee matches for the year.”

Check out the 2021 Ballarat Football Netball League fixture in full here.