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A Showdown like no other

On Saturday night the eyes of the nation, and indeed the world, were on Adelaide Oval as host of Australia’s first major sporting crowd since the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were enforced in March.

In what was an unforgettable moment in Adelaide Oval’s 149-year history, fierce rivals Port Adelaide Football Club and Adelaide Football Club faced off in Showdown 48 in front of a ‘sell-out’ crowd of 2,240. The SA Government enforced quotas saw 2000 fans seated in the stands (1.5 metres apart) and a further 240 guests hosted in function rooms across the three stands (a maximum of 20 per room).

As the pilot case for the national Cabinet’s push to reopen stadia, the event was a great success with significant measures implemented to ensure the safety of all in attendance.

“We had fantastic support from our patrons for the way in which they cooperated with our people and observed all the protocols we had in place,” said Adelaide Oval CEO Andrew Daniels.

“There was a great mood the whole night; people were just excited to be back at the footy and our staff loved having them back. For such a comparatively small crowd, there was an incredible atmosphere from the first bounce until the final siren.

“We are very pleased with how our detailed planning played out. We will undertake a full review this week and there will likely be some fine tuning, but we think Adelaide Oval has helped create systems that will give confidence to those making decisions around escalating the return of crowds.”

The event earnt high praise from South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Chief Medical Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier who were impressed with the professional and thorough way the event was planned and executed.

In two weeks’ time the SANFL season kicks off at Adelaide Oval with two double headers over the weekends of 27/28 June and 4/5 July. Adelaide Oval will work with the SANFL and SA Health to determine what crowds can be accommodated for these matches.

With the state borders reopening on Monday, 20 July there is every chance the AFL will consider scheduling matches at Adelaide Oval when they release the next phase of their fixture on Monday, 22 June.