Celebration time

CELEBRATION: Defending GRFNL premiers, Wandella will open its 2018 season at home against Moulamein.

CELEBRATION: Defending GRFNL premiers, Wandella will open its 2018 season at home against Moulamein.

DEFENDING Golden Rivers Football Netball League premiers, Wandella will unfurl their 2017 flag during the opening round of the 2018 season on April 7.

The league released its draw earlier this week – the first as a united football and netball competition.

The match between the Bombers and a Moulamein outfit that has been busy recruiting players in the off-season will be one of the games of the round during the first weekend of the season.

Other round one matches will see 2017 preliminary finalist, Nullawil host Wakool, Quambatook travel to play last season's semi-finalists, Murrabit and Macorna venture to Hay.

Last season's grand finalists, Ultima have the bye during the first weekend of the season, before travelling to Moulamein on April 14.

In what is becoming a tradition for the league, the 'Roos and Nullawil will clash in the only Sunday fixture of the season, scheduled for Sunday, April 22.

Grand final re-matches between the Bombers and 'Roos will occur on April 28 at the Wandella Recreation Reserve and July 14 at Ultima.

No matches are scheduled for the AFL Victoria Community Championships weekend on May 19, with the GRFNL to travel to Serpentine to play Loddon Valley.

A league-wide bye will also occur on June 9 to cater for the Queen's Birthday weekend.

Wakool will observe the bye during the final round of the home and away season on August 18, with finals occurring across four Saturdays, culminating with the grand final on September 15.

Meanwhile, the league's under 17.5 football teams will use an alternate draw after Moulamein, Quambatook and Wakool confirmed they will not be fielding sides.

It will be the third time in the past four seasons the league's top junior competition will use a fixture separate to the remainder of teams.

It is planned the six remaining sides will play 15 games during the season, but this number may drop to 14 as three games are scheduled at Murrabit during the AFL Victoria Community Championships weekend.

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