Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs play in a pre-season match at Bennett Oval in Whyalla in 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

A FESTIVAL of footy is heading to South Australia in 2023.

With all nine games set to be played in one state across a single weekend for the first time in AFL history, the League's fixturing gurus will soon begin contemplating a schedule for the showpiece event.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan confirmed that the four-day footy carnival will be played in round five next season, spanning Thursday 13 April to Sunday 16 April, with a series of venues already being considered.

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The likely scenario floated today by McLachlan is that six blockbuster matches – both Thursday and Friday night games plus Saturday and Sunday double-headers – will be played at the state's centrepiece stadium, Adelaide Oval.

It leaves three games needing venues for the remainder of the weekend, with the Barossa Valley being considered as an option. A SANFL bye scheduled for that weekend means local suburban grounds could also be used.


The 5,000-capacity Centennial Park Oval, about an hour's drive north-east of the Adelaide CBD, is currently the biggest available sporting ground in the Barossa region and could host at least one match, having not seen AFL action since hosting a pre-season game almost 20 years ago.

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It will get a chance to showcase its potential to host an AFL game this Sunday when the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder meet in a WBBL cricket match at the venue. It first hosted a WBBL game in 2019 after a men's Big Bash trial game was played there in 2018.

Other rural venues that could be considered include Whyalla's Bennett Oval on the Eyre Peninsula, around four hours north of Adelaide, with the 8,000-capacity stadium having hosted an AFL pre-season game in 2020.

Strathalbyn Oval and Port Pirie's Memorial Oval, capable of hosting crowds of 8,000 and 7,500 people respectively, have also hosted pre-season contests over the past five seasons and could be considered viable for AFL games.

A 2014 AFL pre-season game at West Adelaide's Richmond Oval. Picture: AFL Photos

Local SANFL stadiums including Central District's Elizabeth Oval (18,000), Norwood Oval (15,000), North Adelaide's Prospect Oval (15,000), Glenelg Oval (14,000) and Woodville Oval (11,000) will also be in the mix for AFL action.

Earlier this year, West Adelaide's Richmond Oval hosted the two South Australian teams in an AAMI Community Series clash and could be considered as a potential option.

South Adelaide's home, Flinders University Stadium, can hold a capacity crowd of 10,000 people and could also be in the frame given it has hosted multiple pre-season games in both 2020 and 2021.

A 2021 pre-season game between Adelaide and Port Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos

The Crows have hosted the majority of their AFLW games this season at the home of SANFL side Sturt, Unley Oval, which holds a capacity crowd of 10,000. Adelaide will also play its semi-final against Collingwood there this weekend.

Port Adelaide has hosted its AFLW home games at its traditional home of Alberton Oval, which is capable of holding 11,000 people. It lasted hosted AFL action during successive JLT Community Series fixtures in 2018 and 2019.