West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers set to send best players for AFL's representative bushfire relief match
Dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe, All Australian ruckman Nic Naitanui and West Coast captain Luke Shuey will be among the top WA players to suit up in the AFL’s representative match next month.
League boss Gillon McLachlan announced the All Stars fundraiser match would be played at Marvel Stadium on February 28 as the AFL, clubs and AFL Players association commit $2.5million towards the relief fund.
The Fremantle Dockers announced on Thursday they would send their best available players for the clash, all but confirming Fyfe would feature in the match.
The last Origin-style fixture was in 2008, when Victoria beat the Dream Team by 17 points at the MCG.
In 2009, the AFL played a fundraising match between Essendon and the Western Bulldogs to support victims of the Black Saturday bushfires, raising $1.2 million.
“Our industry is heartbroken by the devastation that the fires are causing around the country and our clubs and players have suggested a number of initiatives where we can support affected communities in the short and longer term as they deal with the aftermath of these fires,” Mr McLachlan said.
“A game of footy can’t change what has happened but it is a way for all of our clubs, our players and our fans to acknowledge the incredible sacrifice that so many have made in battling the fires and to support those communities that have been impacted by the bushfires.
“We know that those communities are suffering now but they are also going to need our support as they start to rebuild.”
McLachlan acknowledged the coordinated response from all clubs in wake of the crisis across the country.
“I want to thank our players and clubs for their commitment to doing something substantial that raises money and clearly demonstrates the support to the local football communities of those areas impacted,” he said.
“Our clubs and our AFL and AFLW players are also working on a number of other initiatives to raise money and to support those communities in need and we will continue to work with them over the coming weeks and months to continue to coordinate our efforts.
“On behalf of the AFL community, I also want to thank firefighters, members of the emergency services and defence forces and the various support agencies and the thousands of volunteers have given up their time - and in some cases their lives - to protect others.
“We are grateful for what you have done for our community.”