What to look forward to in the return of Gather Round: Can this year’s Festival of Footy be as successful?


The inaugural AFL Gather Round in 2023 took South Australia by storm, contributing more than $83 million to the state and hosting thousands of footy goers, who donned their colours across the three footy venues.

It was four days of fast footy action that saw 268,000 fans immerse themselves in the footy festival weekend.

With the 2024 Gather Round upon us, there’s a lot to look forward to in the city of churches.

If you thought it was a success last year, get ready for the sequel.

Round 4 will see a Thursday Night classic at Adelaide Oval. After a 35-point defeat in the West last week, the Crows will be looking to get their first win of the season against a firing Demons side.

Coming off a seven-point win to the Crows cross-town rivals, Port Adelaide last weekend, the Dees are proving that they are among the top premiership contenders.

Friday Night Football will see, the Kangaroos take on the under-the-pump Lions at Norwood Oval.

Yet to secure a win in 2024, premiership favourites, Brisbane, are still to prove their worth this season.

A 0-3 record certainly isn’t where we thought Fagan’s Grand Final team would be sitting at the beginning of the season.

Alex Neal-Bullen of the Demons and Jordan Dawson of the Crows at the Adelaide Oval. (Photo by Mark Brake/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Following this, a thriller under lights between home team Port Adelaide and Essendon, looking to bring their ‘edge’.

The Power are coming off their first loss and undoubtedly will be looking to return to the winners list in front of a sold-out home crowd.

South Australia has been buzzing with footy fanatics and it’s clear the Power have been soaking it up with two open training sessions throughout the week.

But could this excitement be too much for this side, particularly with the absence of Ollie Wines?

Saturday, the footy festival continues, with three games across the day. A picturesque Adelaide Hills will stage a potentially ‘ugly’ game, as the inform Bloods take on the struggling Eagles.

Izak Rankine, take a BOW! ????

The Crows star had the crowd in a frenzy with this performance of the Fray’s ‘Look after you’ ????
#GatherRound | Nine & 9Now ????️ pic.twitter.com/5Yu4QjBGgE

— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) April 2, 2024

Off to a good start in 2024, the Swans received a reality check after their shock loss to Adam Yze’s Tigers last week.

The last time these two teams met, it saw the Swans bag 31 goals and comfortably take the victory by 171 points – could this be Groundhog Day for the Eagles?

Back at Adelaide Oval, the Dockers will take on Carlton in a must-watch clash.

Blue’s “twin towers”, Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow, kicked a combined nine goals in a 56-point thrashing over North last week, unarguably demonstrating the full force of the Carlton forwards.

From their performance so far, the Blues might just have the best forward line in the competition.

With both teams yet to concede a game in their 2024 campaigns, this is set to be the game of the round.

The people’s choice, the people’s champ.

Your Round 3 player of the match, Big H ???? pic.twitter.com/g8gW6iBjCQ

— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) March 30, 2024

Staying at Adelaide Oval, Saturday Night will close with a Cat and Dog fight. Geelong’s Monday match, saw veteran Tom Hawkins play his 350th game and kick four goals to secure the win over the Hawks.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are coming off a huge win, defeating the Eagles by 76 points.

The final day will see top of the ladder Giants face Hardwick’s Suns, in the Adelaide Hills.

The Giants’ early success hasn’t gone unnoticed by Sydneysiders, as the awareness of this club within the ‘rugby league state’ continues to grow.

With the Adelaide Hills holding a capacity of only 5,000 spectators, it feels like a missed opportunity for footy fans to see this top-performing team in action.

The candy stripe is making a comeback for Gather Round! ????

Our early 2000s fan-fav is available now, exclusive to Saints Locker.

Candy shop → https://t.co/82G8vnf5jx pic.twitter.com/GagI7OzMXs

— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) March 27, 2024

A final game at Norwood Oval sees the Tigers and Saints battle for points. The Tigerland faithful will be looking to get their second win of the season after an Easter Sunday treat in round 3.

The Saints announced late last week that they will be wearing their Candy Striped guernsey as a nod to their VFA days, joining the footy festival antics.

It’s got us all thinking; will this heritage kit help them clinch a victory as sweet as its name?

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Finally, Gather Round will close, as the reigning premiers look to go two in a row against the winless Hawks.

It will be the first time Jack Ginnivan comes up against his former side and undoubtedly he’ll be keen to put on a show.

Could he be their secret weapon to get the Hawthorn Football Club their first win of the season despite recent free-kick controversies?

Jack Ginnivan tackled by Zach Guthrie. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Gather Round was a huge success last year and with this lineup, it’s set to be even better. There is so much to look forward to across the next 4 days of footy, from music, food and the return of the Zipline.

So, get your tickets if you’re in Adelaide otherwise gather around your TVs, because as a footy fan, this is a weekend you won’t want to miss for many reasons.

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