Northern Bullant Doug Lawrence (right, with Coburg's Sam Lowson and AFL Head of State Leagues Jennie Loughnan) has been been ruled out of his team's clash with Footscray. Picture: AFL Photos

The Victorian Football League (VFL) is delighted to welcome Smithy’s on board as the competition’s new naming rights partner, on the eve of the 2022 season.

The announcement comes ahead of the VFL Season Launch, which is taking place at Coburg Football Club on Monday afternoon. Media are welcome to attend to interview captains and coaches from the Victorian-based clubs from 4:30pm. 

Round One of the 2022 Smithy’s VFL season starts this Friday 25 March. Full fixture details have been confirmed up to Round Eight, with match ups locked in for the remainder of the season. View the fixture here.

The partnership agreement between the VFL and Smithy's brings together the rich heritage of community football with Thomas Henry Smith or “Smithy”, who helped draft the original rules for the game and whose pioneering spirit inspired the creation of the beer that now bears his name. 

AFL Head of State Leagues, Jennie Loughnan, said: “It is a fantastic boost for the VFL competition to welcome a new naming rights partner with the 2022 season about to get underway. To partner with Smithy’s, a brand that has such strong connections to football, makes so much sense. 

“The last two years have been very difficult on our competition, the clubs and many in the VFL football community. But we are ready to bounce back in a big way. There is a lot of excitement around the 2022 season given how much football has been missed and having Smithy’s throw their support behind our league and clubs is another positive development for the VFL. 

“We are very proud of the VFL’s rich history and I thank Smithy’s for recognising the place the VFL has in the community and how the competition connects with so many people.”
The partnership will see the Smithy’s brand appear on ground signage, in broadcast, on finals match balls, across apparel worn by officials and Grand Final team uniforms, as well as VFL digital assets, including streaming, website and app. 

Coles Liquor head of brand strategy, Russell Downing said the partnership with the VFL would support one of the most historic and passionately supported community football competitions in the country.

“The VFL is one of the oldest competitions in Australia and we are so proud to have taken naming rights with Smithy’s, which is also founded on Australia’s football heritage, Mr Downing said.

“Our investment will support what is a thriving competition in Victoria, NSW and Queensland and Coles Liquor’s own mission to build strong links with local communities around the country.”

The Smithy’s range includes six classic beer styles, with labels that reflect the shape of the football ground along with the stripes of a traditional jersey.

2022 Smithy’s VFL Season – Round One

Friday 25 March
Footscray vs. Sydney Swans - VU Whitten Oval, 4.35pm AEDT
Carlton vs. Brisbane Lions - IKON Park, 5.05pm AEDT

Saturday 26 March
Geelong vs. Essendon - GMHBA Stadium, 2.05pm AEDT
Gold Coast Suns vs. Northern Bullants – Metricon Stadium, 2.05pm AEST (local) / 3:05pm AEDT
Frankston vs. Werribee - SkyBus Stadium - 7.05pm AEDT

Sunday 27 March
Richmond vs. Southport Sharks - Swinburne Centre, 11.35am AEDT
Collingwood vs. Box Hill Hawks – Victoria Park, 12.00pm AEDT (changed from Holden Centre)
Casey Demons vs. Sandringham - Casey Fields, 1.05pm AEDT
GWS Giants vs. Port Melbourne - Blacktown International Sports Park, 2.05pm AEDT
North Melbourne vs. Williamstown - Arden Street, 4.05pm AEDT

Bye: Coburg