FORMER BLUES superstar Anthony Koutoufides will become a Redback for one night only.
The Carlton legend will line up for Carisbrook in a match that has all the key ingredients for a stellar bush blockbuster – a stand-alone grand final rematch, under lights for round one in the Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League.
It will be the first of two possible Kouta appearances in the AFL Goldfields Region this season.
Darley declared in late January it had signed the 40-year-old to suit up for the Devils against Melton South on May 15 in the Ballarat Football League, but Devils coaching staff have since said the deal is far from sealed.
Carisbrook Football Club committee announced yesterday it had endorsed a request from the club’s coaching department to play Koutoufides in the Redbacks’ season opener on April 13.
Redbacks president Jim Long hoped Koutoufides’ presence would draw a big crowd for the night when the club would unfurl its 2012 senior and under-15 premiership flags.
“He’s just a great feature and hopefully we’ll have him for a couple of other feature things at the game, but those details are yet to be fully decided,” Long said.
“A lot of the senior group is quite chuffed to be playing with him...and I imagine it will all be part of a healthy rivalry (with Navarre).”
Long said coaches approached clubman Glenn Patterson, who had links with Kouta, to ask for the likelihood of securing the former Blues’ skipper for a match – and it “snowballed” from that point.
Carisbrook’s committee ratified the decision on Tuesday night and a sub-committee would be set up to organise details for the match.
Long said Redbacks coaching staff had been organising this for awhile and it was completely seperate to Koutoufides potential appearance in Darley, which was announced in late January.
It just worked well, he said, it was on such a big night for the club.
MCDFL operation manager Scott Carey said securing Koutoufides was also fantastic for the league.
“He’s a big former AFL star coming back to the league, which gives plenty of advertisement for Carisbrook and the league, especially because it coincides in a stand-alone match,” Carey said.
“A grand final rematch means there’ll be a bit of tension in the game already but players will get great exposure and hopefully a lot of junior kids will stick around to watch him, too.”
Koutoufides played 278 games with the Blues.
He was a Carlton premiership player in 1995, AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player in 2000, dual all Australian representative (1995 and 2000) and Victorian state of origin player in 1999.
Controversial former Carlton forward Brendan Fevola will also make an appearance in the AFL Goldfields Region this season.
Fevola will play for Bacchus Marsh on a one-match permit from Ovens and Murray league club Yarrawonga in a clash against Sunbury on June 1.