Riverway Stadium in Townsville will become the 48th different AFL venue and the fifth in Queensland when Gold Coast hosts St Kilda on Saturday afternoon.
The showpiece stadium in the unofficial North Queensland 'capital' will claim a place in AFL history as it joins a venue list that began with four matches in round one of the first AFL/VFL season in 1897.
Host venues were Collingwood’s Victoria Park, Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street Oval, South Melbourne’s Lake Oval and the old Corio Oval at Geelong.
The game has spread far and wide, adding such places at Wellington Stadium in New Zealand and Jiangwan Stadium in China to the all-time AFL venue list.
And no player in history has played at more venues than SUNS defender Jack Hombsch. Riverway Stadium will remarkably become the 21st venue he has played it in his 110-game career.
|21*||Jack Hombsch||110||GWS, PA, GC|
|19||Paul Salmon||324||Ess, Haw|
|19*||Jarrod Harbrow||235||WB, GC|
* Including Saturday's match
Jarrod Harbrow and SUNS teammates Alex Sexton, Lachie Weller and Jesse Joyce will become the first Queenslanders to play in four of the five Queensland AFL venues.
For Sexton it will be the 18th different venue of his career, pushing him level with the Port players list above and up to second spot on the Queensland list in just his 110th game. Weller and Joyce will each add a 16th different venue to their career record.
Riverway Stadium will become the fifth venue in Queensland to host an official AFL game, but can you name the other four?
No prizes for knowing that Riverway Stadium, formerly Tony Ireland Stadium, will join the Gabba, Metricon Stadium at Carrara and Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns.
But five? Unknown to most, the fifth, and the answer to one of the great sporting trivia questions, is the Brisbane Exhibition Ground.
It was round eight, 1952 when all matches were played at regional and interstate venues for promotional reasons. They were the SCG, North Hobart Oval and Exhibition Ground in State capitals outside the traditional football heartland, plus Albury in regional NSW, and Euroa and Yallourn in regional Victoria.
The Exhibition Ground was not exactly new to the game, having hosted Queensland Football League matches prior to World War I and the 1950 Australian carnival.
The League fixtured a replay of the 1951 Grand Final in which Geelong beat Essendon by 11 points.
All matches were originally to be played on the Saturday afternoon, but due to torrential rain, the Brisbane match was postponed and rescheduled to Monday night, June 16, 1952.
So, the League's first visit to Queensland inadvertently also became the first official VFL/AFL match played under floodlights.
Officially a crowd of 28,000 saw Essendon reverse the Grand Final result to win 23.17 (155) to 12.14 (86) in a match which featured 23 members of the 1951 premiership decider.