Club News

18,500 fans pack into Norwood Oval for Gather Round

Gather Round photos thanks to NFC photographers Maya Thompson, Alex Pedlar & Josh Teakle

More than 18,000 fans packed Norwood Oval over the Gather Round weekend for the two AFL matches at the venue. 

The Brisbane Lions kicked off AFL Gather Round at Norwood Oval with a convincing win over North Melbourne in front of 9037 fans on Friday evening, while 9425 were in attendance on Sunday to watch St Kilda defeat Richmond.

The Lions – who played in last year’s AFL Grand Final – enjoyed a 70-point win over the struggling Kangaroos on Friday, before St Kilda recovered from a slow start to overrun the Tigers in a seven-point win.

The Parade was home to the Norwood Food and Wine Festival on Sunday, where an estimated 70,000 people attended the packed main street. The Festival included an abundance of food and drink stalls, live music, large TV screens showing the footy and packed pubs, restaurants, shops and other venues.

Over the course of the Gather Round weekend, Norwood Oval (as well as other SANFL grounds) hosted Open Training sessions of the AFL sides, with Norwood welcoming Brisbane and North Melbourne on Thursday, followed by St Kilda and Richmond on Saturday. Hundreds of fans attended each session to get a glimpse of their favourite players.

Gather Round will return to South Australia next season, with the State Government locking in the concept until the end of 2026.

St Kilda Coach Ross Lyon endorsed the Gather Round concept.

“Norwood Oval – it’s long (165m), it’s picturesque, loved it, beautiful, (coaches) box was good,” he said.

“It’s a narrow ground 110m, but there’s a price for bringing the AFL to the community and the town, and it’s a small price to pay – we love the (Gather Round) concept.”

Brisbane Coach Chris Fagan said his players relished the idea of playing on the suburban ground, Norwood Oval.

“The players thought it was a good opportunity to get back to that community footy feel, which surprised me as I thought they liked playing at the MCG,” he said.

“It reminds them of what they did when they were kids and the type of grounds they played on. It was great for them, and the crowd feels right on top of them.

“It was 9000, but it felt like 70,000 because they were packed around you.”

Richmond V St Kilda

Brisbane Lions V North Melbourne