Western Bulldogs bring AFL to Ballarat’s Mars Stadium this weekend

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Western Bulldogs bring AFL to Ballarat’s Mars Stadium this weekend

Ballarat will once again roll out the welcome mat for two Western Bulldogs home games for the 2023 AFL season.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d notice the 2023 AFL season has finally arrived, and along with it an arduous six months of studded boots, hip and shoulders, wild goal celebrations, cold froffies, meat pies, and some serious SuperCoach leagues.

While it’s hard to rival showtime at the ‘G, regional football fans are in for a treat this year as the Western Bulldogs once again expand the Club’s community beyond the suburban fringe of Melbourne’s West to include Ballarat and Western Victoria.

Keep up with the latest in local news and entertainment here.

In partnership with the City of Ballarat, the Western Bulldogs will bring two AFL Premiership games to the region in 2023, host Adelaide on Saturday 20 May at 2.10pm (round 10) and Greater Western Sydney Giants on the final weekend of July (round 20), at a time yet to be determined.

This weekend will be particularly special, with the Ballarat clash taking place during Sir Doug Nicholls Round, the AFL’s two-week celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and its contribution to football.

The occasion will also feature a Welcome to Country before the match and other Indigenous celebrations to mark the event.

In addition to the match itself, the club will continue to show its commitment to the City by holding a ‘Bulldogs Heroes at Hop’ past players night on Friday 19 April. Join former Bulldogs players Easton Wood, Clay Smith and Josh Carter (Hill) for a special fan night at Hop Temple. The event is free, but bookings are essential via the Western Bulldogs website.

This partnership has been a lasting one since AFL history was made in 2017 when Ballarat hosted the state’s first AFL game for premiership points outside the footy heartland of Melbourne and Geelong.

“We continue to be so proud of the Western Bulldogs and we encourage the entire city to get behind them, even if you do already have a favourite team,” City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said.

“It’s amazing to have them playing in our city and given their recent form, it will be a game you do not want to miss.”

Ballarat AFL Game – Getting There

For those heading to the match, a free shuttle bus service will return, with hundreds of parking spaces also available at C.E Brown Reserve and surrounding ovals. These parking spaces can be accessed from Dowling Street, giving patrons access to the Mars Stadium gates via a short walk.

Additional on-street parking will be available for drivers in Howitt and Norman Streets, as well as Creswick Road (north of Norman Street).

Drivers are reminded there is also accessible parking at the North Ballarat Sports Club, however all other traffic will be directed to park at one of the other designated parking areas.

A drop-off and pick-up zone will also be set up directly outside Gate 2 on Creswick Road.

A shuttle bus will depart Ballarat Railway Station Bus Terminal and travel to Mars Stadium from 11.30am.

From 3.30pm, a return shuttle will depart Mars Stadium and drop passengers off in Lydiard St Nth (Train Station). This shuttle service is expected to continue until all patrons have left Mars Stadium.

A fan zone will be located inside Gate 3 on the netball courts with a range of kids activities including inflatable, handball target and kids activities to keep young Bulldogs fans entertained before the first bounce.

Gates open at 12.40pm. Tickets are still available for the match and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.