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AFL details events for Celebration of Football

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 02: A Western Bulldogs fan cheers during the 2016 EJ Whitten Legends Game between Victoria and the All Stars at Etihad Stadium on September 02, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 02: A Western Bulldogs fan cheers during the 2016 EJ Whitten Legends Game between Victoria and the All Stars at Etihad Stadium on September 02, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

The AFL today detailed the schedule of events to be held across its Celebration of Football week, between the end of the home and away season and the start to the 2017 Toyota AFL Finals Series.

Following its successful introduction in 2016, this season will again see a bye week between round 23 of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season (August 25-28) and the opening to the Toyota AFL Finals Series (September 7-10).

AFL General Manager Clubs Travis Auld said the period would feature a range of events and key AFL functions, while the eight sides contesting the finals would have the opportunity to prepare fully for the most important matches of the season.

Again, as per last year, Mr Auld said the AFL would also be seeking to raise the profile of all state league competitions across that weekend, along with metropolitan, regional and community football.

The key events would be as follows (all times are local times):
Tuesday August 29 – Coach / Captain Media Conferences for Teams 1-4 playing in the Finals.
Wednesday August 30 - Announcement of the 2017 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian Team, Palais Theatre, 6.30pm.
Thursday August 31 – 2017 NAB AFL Women’s State of Origin media launch
Friday September 1 – Announcement of the 2017 NAB AFL Rising Star at Peninsula, time tbc. Chemist Warehouse EJ Whitten Legends Game at Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm.
Saturday September 2 – State League Finals. NAB AFL Women’s State of Origin, venue and time tbc, featuring the NAB AFL Women’s Under 18 State of Origin curtain raiser.
Sunday September 3 – State League Finals.
Monday September 5 – AFL Launch of the 2017 Toyota AFL Finals Series. AFL to receive Premiership Cup from Cash’s and announce Grand Final Day key presenters. Coach / Captain Media Conferences for Teams 5-8 in Finals.

“The nine matches of the finals series are our showpiece games of the season, culminating in the 2017 Toyota AFL Grand Final.

“The introduction of the bye week last year enabled the excitement of the finals to build and build, while clubs were able to prepare their best players with a valuable break, which culminated in a memorable September.

“The 2017 season has been one of the tightest in memory, with constant changes to the ladder order, and we are looking forward to the chance of finals being played in most parts of the country,” Mr Auld said.

In the immediate days after round 23, the AFL will celebrate the best players of the season at the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian Awards, and declare the best young player of the season with the presentation of the Ron Evans medal at the NAB AFL Rising Star.

Mr Auld, who is responsible for the AFL Fixture, said the AFL was prepared to consider a Monday night match in round 23, if the right game could be scheduled for both crowd and television support, while the finals are likely to again open with a Thursday night match in the opening week of the finals series.

The Chemist Warehouse EJ Whitten Legends Game will be telecast live nationally on Channel 7 and 7mate, Foxtel/Fox Footy and the AFL Live App on Friday September 1 while the NAB AFL Women’s State of Origin on Saturday September 2 will also be telecast live nationally on the Seven Network, Foxtel/ Fox Footy and the AFL Live App.

The announcement of the 2017 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian team and the announcement of the 2017 NAB AFL Rising Star will both be telecast by Foxtel / Fox Footy and available on the AFL Live App.

The Seven Network in WA, SA and Victoria will cover state league finals for the WAFC, SANFL and VFL respectively, to be played the weekend of September 2-3. The TSL and NEAFL, along with community leagues around the country will also showcase finals matches across the weekend.

The AFL is delighted to be able to offer a variety of events and activities throughout the bye week and looks forward to fans embracing the week of entertainment, and wishes to thank our sponsors and our broadcast partners, Channel 7, Foxtel/Fox Footy and Telstra for their support.