By Zoey Andrews

MILLEWA football and netball is back, and as of tonight, it’ll be brighter than ever – literally.

The league has included in their fixture this season three night games, hosted by Gol Gol Football and Netball Club, with the first being held tonight at Carramar Drive.

Cardross will play Gol Gol, with the Sunraysia Women’s Football League game between the sides kicking off at 6pm and the MFNL match to follow.

Between the two games will be an ANZAC Service, with Cardross president and local pastor Josh Cole leading the commemorations and Gol Gol president and the Manager of Veterans Services at the Mildura RSL Sub Branch, Paul Mensch, delivering the ode.

It isn’t the first time the league has dabbled in night games.

After the lighting towers at the Gol Gol oval were installed two years ago, the Hawks hosted two scheduled games there including the league’s Mega Day, and one impromptu match later in the season when COVID impacted where games could be played.

And the change of day and time paid off, with Mr Mensch noting crowd numbers at evening games last season swelled to triple that of a normal home game held on a Saturday afternoon.

The benefits of games held on a Friday night in the MFNL are multiple; big crowds attend as there is no competition from any other football games being played locally meaning the league is under the spotlight, and players get the opportunity not only to play in front of a large crowd, but also experience playing the game under lights.

Mr Mensch said the games held on Friday night also showcased country football, as well as the facilities available to clubs in the MFNL.

Adam Thomson, coach of the Gol Gol MFNL team, said he has played at night before – both last season as Gol Gol, and at a couple of other locations around both Sunraysia and country Victoria. He said the lights at Gol Gol are as good, if not better than the best he has played under.

Like the Hawks, the Lions cannot wait to get back out onto the field and Mr Cole said his club is very excited to kick off the season.

He said it will be great to get back into football after such a long off season, and for it to be an ANZAC round under lights will add to the spectacle.

Round One of the MFNL and SWFL will continue tomorrow with the Meringur coming up against Werrimull at Cullulleraine and Bambill hosting Nangiloc at Mildura Senior College.