Lismore Swans React to News of AFL JLT at Oakes Oval
Updated: Dec 30, 2018
The AFL released a statement early Monday morning on the 29th of October, that later that day at 1pm they would be releasing the fixtures for the 2019 JLT Community Series.
The anticipation was red hot. Would Lismore, the lively cultured filled regional centre of the Northern Rivers be successful in hosting an AFL pre-season game at the redeveloped Oakes Oval? (Read about the redevelopment here)
The AFL app was inundated with eager fans Australia wide as it struggled to handle the increased traffic sending the live video stream in to 'buffering' mode for majority of the announcement.
However by 1.02pm, the fixture was available for all to see, and written in on the seventh paragraph read as follows;
'Sydney faces Gold Coast at Oakes Oval in the second week of the competition, which will be the first time Lismore has ever hosted a pre-season clash'.
Hearts started to race, smiles began to shine; The dream had become a reality for local Lismore and Northern Rivers fans as March 10, 2019 was confirmed for a JLT game at Oakes Oval, Lismore.
Lismore Swans President Philip Tsourlinis is excited for the opportunity this can bring the local community and is proud of the hard work over the last few years.
"It's been one hell of a ride in the last three years, and all the hard work within this football club, plus the Lismore City Council and the AFL has paid off, the highest level of our code is coming to our very own town".
Oakes Oval was recently redeveloped and the Lismore Swans played five home games there this year and totally understand why the venue would attract the highest level.
With a fantastic function room area, a great grand stand, a new grand stand to the west and a beautiful mound to the north area, Oakes Oval is a prime location to host a JLT Community Series game.
"The rest of the country gets to see how lucky we are living in the most beautiful part of the country, showcasing the region and our new home ground" Tsourlinis said.
The news spread amongst Lismore Swans members and the reaction has been nothing short of excitement and amazement.
Lismore Swans Secretary and 2 x Swans Premiership Captain Laura Cahill is so excited about the potential of a JLT game at Oakes Oval.
"We are so excited to host a JLT game, and what this means for our game in Lismore is massive".
"This is going to give great exposure to our community on our sport, and help our own players in both the women's and men's squads to witness football at the highest level right here in Lismore".
The Men's Senior Coach Joey Mitchell is amazed at the news and is excited about what it means for the community.
"This is massive for our players, club and league as the decision by the AFL to schedule a match at Lismore means so much to our community".
"Fingers crossed that this is one of many more to come" says Mitchell.
The perspective from Swans Women's 2018 Best & Fairest Stella Allen is a positive one for our community.
"It’s very exciting for such a large profile game coming to Lismore as this brings great publicity to Aussie Rules in the northern rivers and a rare opportunity for the community to come together".
"I also hope to see future games held in Lismore including the AFLW" she adds.
Swans Men's Reserves Coach Will Alexander is excited to have his friends who play for the Gold Coast Suns playing on his own home deck.
"I am super pumped to watch the game as I’ve worked closely with a handful of the Suns boys over the years and to have them play on my home deck will be quite surreal!"
"The fact that our very own Oakes Oval has been deemed suitable for the elite of our great game reveals just how blessed we are to have this facility" Alexander said.
All the details of the weekend are still currently being confirmed so stay tuned for further information about this historic occasion which has captivated not just local Aussie Rules fans, but the community as a whole.