The Australian Football League has confirmed that discussions are underway for a special State of Origin match to be played to raise funds for victims of the bushfires in the country.
According to the Herald Sun, the game would take place between two sides comprised of current AFL players and could be played on February 28 at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
It would be the first time in 21 years that the league has held a State of Origin fixture. The concept involves teams representing Australian states, rather than clubs, and has been played in other Australian sports including rugby league. The last such AFL fixture was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1999, with Victoria beating South Australia in front of 26,063 people.
A league spokesman said: “Like everyone, our entire industry is united in our support for the communities impacted by bushfires and the incredible courage and commitment of the thousands of volunteers and emergency services and support agency personnel who are involved in protecting and helping people right across the country.
“There are a number of ideas and initiatives we are working through with clubs and players across both AFL and AFLW that can support fundraising efforts in the short-term as well as support the ongoing rebuilding of local communities in the longer term.
“Those discussions over how we best do that are continuing and there is widespread commitment to ensuring football does whatever it can to support affected communities any way we can.”
In 2009, the AFL played a fund-raising match to support victims of the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires in Victoria that year. The game between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon raised A$1.2m ($824,400/ €739,000).