The fierce rivalry between the Victorian Football League and South Australian National Football League at senior men’s level is set to resume in 2024, with representative sides from the Smithy’s VFL and Hostplus SANFL League to face off in Adelaide over the AFL Gather Round weekend.

The best VFL-listed players from the 21-team competition will be selected to represent the ‘Big V’ in the VFL’s first representative match in seven years.

The last VFL men’s representative team to take the field was in 2017 against the West Australian Football League in Melbourne and the last time the VFL and SANFL played at senior level was in 2016, when the SANFL triumphed by 19 points in Adelaide.

The second edition of Gather Round… A Festival of Footy will take place from April 4-7, with the timeslot and venue for the VFL versus SANFL representative clash to be confirmed.

A bye will be scheduled in the Smithy's VFL fixture that weekend, with no matches to be played across the competition.

AFL Head of State Leagues Jennie Loughnan said it was a big boost for the VFL and the best players in the competition to have a representative game to look forward to.

“Having a VFL versus SANFL state league representative game back on the calendar in 2024 is really exciting for the competition and the VFL-listed players in contention for selection,” Loughnan said.

“It gives the best players in the VFL the opportunity to aspire to wear the famous ‘Big V’ jumper and showcase their talent on a weekend where all AFL clubs will be in South Australia for Gather Round, with AFL recruiters watching on.

“I thank the SANFL for working with us and acknowledge the VFL clubs who have thrown their support behind the concept.

“The match is sure to attract considerable attention and I’m sure plenty of South Australian footy fans and many Victorians who will travel to attend Gather Round will get behind the game and ensure the traditional VFL-SANFL footy rivalry is reignited.

“20 VFL-listed players made their way onto AFL lists during the 2023 season through the various Drafts and selection mechanisms, which shows how important the VFL is in the talent pathway system and how many VFL players are considered ready for the AFL.”

SANFL Executive General Manager Football Matt Duldig said the match provided a unique opportunity for both competitions to showcase their talent on a national stage as part of Gather Round.

“We are thrilled to see the return of a SANFL versus VFL match for the first time since 2016 – and to play it over Gather Round provides a fantastic experience for the best players of the Hostplus SANFL League,” Duldig said.

''To reignite a rivalry that dates back to the late 1800s is really exciting, and to do that over Gather Round when football is on show in SA, will be a treat for footy lovers from all over the country.”

Further information about selection process, coaching appointments and other team information will be confirmed in due course.