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Irish stars to face off in Aussie Rules double-header to raise funds for bushfire relief

Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium will host the two clashes next month.

Sarah Rowe's Collingwood face Melbourne in the AFLW clash.
Sarah Rowe's Collingwood face Melbourne in the AFLW clash.
Image: AAP/PA Images

AT LEAST FOUR Irish stars will take to Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium next month for a massive Aussie Rules double-header to raise funds for bushfire relief Down Under.

Wildfires continue to rage in Australia, with an area the size of Ireland now scorched by blazes. Searing temperatures are expected to return to the south-east of the country over the next few days, so there’s no sign of mitigation.

Melbourne FC have announced that their Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] round four clash against Collingwood has been moved to Marvel Stadium to create a double-header with the bushfire relief ‘State of Origin’ match on Friday, 28 February.

A selection from Victoria and an All-Stars line-up face off in that one at the 53,359 capacity stadium, with the start time of both fixtures yet to be announced. 

Dublin duo Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy recently signed for Melbourne, while Mayo star Sarah Rowe and Cavan’s Aishling Sheridan are on the books at Collingwood.

All four are in line to play in the AFLW fixture, as the season kicks off on 7 February.

“The game will further support the AFL’s combined efforts in raising funds for those affected by the bushfire crisis,” Melbourne FC wrote in a statement.

“Matches throughout the AFLW season will also support the initiative, housing donation collecting points from the opening round.”

The AFL announced the landmark State of Origin match to raise funds last night, along with providing a donation to support relief efforts.

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The AFL [$1.35m / €1,583,523m]– in association with the clubs [$900,000 / €805,321] and AFL Players Association [$250,000 / €224,960] – have committed a $2.5million [€2,249,638] donation.

There could be more than four Irish stars in action, with players yet to be selected for the men’s State of Origin match. The process is yet to be determined, but there will be a maximum of three players per AFL club eligible to take part.

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Emma Duffy

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