The fixtures for all three NFNL senior men’s football competitions have been released ahead of the return to play in 2021.
After the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the return to action in 2021 will feature a new competition structure.
Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 and MC Labour Division 2 will each feature 10 teams and a top-five finals system. Eight teams will compete in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3, which will continue with a top-four finals system.
With even team numbers in all three senior men’s football competitions, every club will play 18 home and away games in season 2021.
The return of football in the NFNL will take place on Good Friday, with Eltham to host St Mary’s at Eltham Central Park from 2:10pm, while Epping and Thomastown meet in a twilight game at Epping Recreation Reserve.
The Good Friday matches will be played on Friday April 2 and have been scheduled as part of an elongated Round 1 in MC Labour Division 2.
All four teams who play on Good Friday will also play the following weekend to conclude Round 1 and will have a bye later in the season.
The 2021 Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 campaign will be kickstarted by a clash between Northcote Park and Montmorency under lights at Bill Lawry Oval on Friday April 9.
Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 will get underway on the same night, with Heidelberg West to host Old Eltham Collegians in a night match under the new lights at Heidelberg Park.
West Preston-Lakeside, Whittlesea and Panton Hill will all unfurl 2019 flags at home in the opening round of the season.
The Roosters will do so against Bundoora in a match that will commence at the earlier time of 1:30pm. Whittlesea will take on 2019 runner-up Greensborough, while Panton Hill marks its return to second division by hosting Diamond Creek.
Round 3 across all senior men’s football competitions will commemorate ANZAC Round, which includes three matches being played on Sunday April 25.
The senior matches to be played on ANZAC Day include Heidelberg hosting Macleod at Warringal Park, Epping taking on Diamond Creek at Epping Recreation Reserve and Thomastown hosting Fitzroy Stars at Main Street Recreation Reserve.
Macleod and North Heidelberg will play a standalone game over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, with the Roos to host this year’s encounter at De Winton Park on Saturday June 12.
A split round has been included in the Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 fixture. It will take place in Round 14 across Saturday July 17 and Saturday July 24.
The finals series for both MC Labour Division 2 and Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 will commence on the weekend of August 21-22, a week prior to the start of the Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 finals.
All grand finals will again be played on Saturday, commencing with the Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 decider on September 4.
The MC Labour Division 2 grand final will be played on September 11, before the season concludes with the Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 grand final on September 18.
Please note: Fixtures for all under-19 and women’s football competitions will be released early in 2021 once team numbers have been confirmed.
Key features of the 2021 NFNL senior men’s football fixtures include:
MEADOWS GREYHOUNDS DIVISION 1
• Round 1 to be played across two days, beginning with a Friday night match between Northcote Park and Montmorency at Bill Lawry Oval on April 9.
• West Preston-Lakeside and Whittlesea to unfurl their 2019 premiership flags in Round 1. The Roosters will do so against Bundoora at J.E. Moore Park in a match beginning at the earlier time of 1:30pm. The Eagles host 2019 runner-up Greensborough at Whittlesea Showgrounds.
• Two twilight matches to be played in Round 2. Montmorency will host Bundoora at Montmorency Park North Oval, while Northcote Park takes on North Heidelberg at Bill Lawry Oval.
• Greensborough to host Montmorency in a twilight match at Greensborough War Memorial Park in Round 3.
• Heidelberg and Macleod to meet at Warringal Park on ANZAC Day, which falls on a Sunday in 2021.
• Montmorency to host Macleod in a twilight match at Montmorency Park North Oval in Round 5.
• Greensborough to host West Preston-Lakeside in the first grand final rematch of the season at Greensborough War Memorial Park in Round 2. The return bout at J.E. Moore Park will be held in Round 9.
• Macleod to host North Heidelberg at De Winton Park on Saturday June 12 during the Queen’s Birthday weekend. It is the only NFNL match scheduled over the long weekend.
• Round 14 to be split over two weekends. Three matches will be played on Saturday July 17, with the remaining two matches to be played on Saturday July 24.
MC LABOUR DIVISION 2
• With the competition expanded to 10 teams in 2021, five matches will be played each round. The fixture will replicate first division, with each club to play every opponent twice – once at home and once away.
• Two matches to be played on Good Friday, which will kickstart the return of football in the NFNL. Eltham will host St Mary’s at Eltham Central Park at 2:10pm, while Epping hosts a twilight game against Thomastown starting at 4:10pm.
• Panton Hill to unfurl its 2019 premiership flag in Round 1. The Redbacks host Diamond Creek in a twilight match at A.E. Cracknell Reserve.
• Banyule’s first two home games to be played in the twilight timeslot. The Bears will host Lower Plenty in Round 2 and St Mary’s in Round 4.
• Lower Plenty and Panton Hill to both host twilight matches on Saturday during ANZAC Round (Round 3).
• Two matches to be played on Sunday during ANZAC Round. Epping will host Diamond Creek at Epping Recreation Reserve, while Thomastown will take on Fitzroy Stars at Main Street Recreation Reserve.
• Fitzroy Stars and Thomastown to compete for the NAIDOC Cup in their July 10 clash at Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval. The match will be held during NAIDOC week, which coincides with the NFNL’s Sir Douglas Nicholls Round.
• Finals series to commence on the weekend of August 21-22 and run across four weeks following the introduction of a top-five finals system.
HEIDELBERG GOLF CLUB DIVISION 3
• Every team to play 18 matches. Each club will play four opponents three times and the other three opponents two times.
• No byes scheduled in 2021 due to the competition returning to an even number of teams.
• Round 1 to be played across two days, beginning with a Friday night match between Heidelberg West and Old Eltham Collegians at Heidelberg Park on April 9.
• Mernda to host Laurimar in a twilight match at Waterview Recreation Reserve on the Saturday of ANZAC Round.
• South Morang and Laurimar to meet in a rematch of the 2019 preliminary final in Round 6 at Mill Park Lakes Reserve. The sides will also play each other in Round 13 and Round 18, both at Laurimar Reserve.
• Finals series to again start one week earlier than Meadows Greyhounds Division 1, commencing with the second semi final on Saturday August 21.
View the 2021 NFNL senior men’s fixtures at www.nfnl.org.au/nfnl-football-fixture-results-ladders or download the printable version, which includes each club’s round-by-round fixture, by clicking the links below: