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Goulburn Valley League fixture released

Back in action: Echuca’s season starts on April 9, 2022 against Rochester. Photo: Rodney Braithwaite Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

The Goulburn Valley League’s football and netball players will have Saturday, April 9 circled emphatically in their diaries after the league announced the 2022 draw on Tuesday afternoon.

The 18-round GVL season is slated to start on the second weekend of April, with a four-week finals series to take place throughout September, including the grand final on Sunday, September 25.

The fixture will incorporate competition split rounds in rounds 13 and 16, while May 28 has been set aside for the GVL and Ovens and Murray League to renew their storied rivalry in the return of inter-league football.

The Anzac Day round will fall on round three, while the Indigenous Round will be held during round nine games.

“After a year that saw only 11 rounds played due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are eagerly looking forward to the return of football and netball in 2022,” GVL board chairman David Roff said.

Fans of the GVL are also set to get their fill of community football as the sport looks to emerge from the COVID-19 wilderness, with each club set to host at least one home Sunday fixture.

Eight of the 18 rounds include at least one Sunday clash, while a pair of games — Benalla vs Tatura and Shepparton United vs Shepparton — are slated for Good Friday.

“This is to help alleviate any umpire shortages that we saw during this season and expect to see next season as we see the return of community sport,” Roff said.

“The Sunday games will be a real feature of our fixture with some key clashes scheduled, such as the traditional Anzac Day matches Mooroopna vs Shepparton United and Euroa vs Seymour.”

For the Echuca faithful, a quick glance at the first five rounds of the 2022 season indicates a tough initiation for the minor premier.

The Murray Bombers face four of 2021’s top six sides in those fixtures, with a season opener against arch rival Rochester to kick-start their campaign for an elusive premiership.

They meet Euroa in round two before what is set to be another highly anticipated clash against 2019 premier Kyabram in round three. Seymour then awaits in round five.

GVL operations manager Josephine Spencer said 25 fixture requests were received and honoured.

“This fixture sees all 25 club requests met, which will go a long way in assisting clubs financially with key games, premiership reunions and traditional clashes scheduled.”

Round one

Rochester vs Echuca

Tatura vs Kyabram

Shepparton vs Mooroopna

Swans vs United

Seymour vs Benalla

Euroa vs Mansfield