AFL on NRL Turf.
PILA’s AFL goal posts installed at historic Rugby League ground Birchgrove Oval, in Sydney’s heartland.
Birchgrove Oval was once the sacred turf of rugby league and the home of the first premiership game in 1908, featuring Souths against Norths and Balmain against Wests in front of 3000 fans. AFL was originally played on Birchgrove Oval between 1903-1926 but the ground has been off-limits ever since; until PILA’s AFL goal posts were recently installed by AFL NSW/ACT.
Players from the Sydney Swans and the GWS Giants launched the NSW statewide AFL Auskick football festival at the field, to promote the game to inner-west Sydney schools. AFL juniors and the Balmain senior AFL club will share the ground with both rugby league and soccer teams, making this a true multi-use field.
Council’s Mayor said the venue was for all codes. “With the ever-increasing demand for sporting fields, the days of valuable grounds likBirchy being used for only one code are over. Rugby league, soccer, AFL and cricket can coexist at Birchgrove Oval and allow the maximum number of local people to play.”
The NRL CEO said he expected junior Rugby League numbers to rise as record funding for grassroots reaches junior clubs. “I like to see young people playing any sport — but naturally I want them playing rugby league so I would hope it won’t be long before we see more rugby league posts going up around Sydney.”