Big opener planned for Mars Stadium blockbuster

SHOW TIME: Western Bulldogs engagement manager Brett Goodes. There is expected to be a spectacular opening to next weekend's game at Mars Stadium. Picture: Lachlan Bence
SHOW TIME: Western Bulldogs engagement manager Brett Goodes. There is expected to be a spectacular opening to next weekend's game at Mars Stadium. Picture: Lachlan Bence

STAY tuned for a lively opening ceremony to really kick off AFL action next weekend.

Western Bulldogs are promising to put on a few special tricks for game day.

The Bulldogs want to go big on fan engagement for the first AFL premiership season match in Ballarat to ensure the event is more than a game.

Bulldogs engagement manager Brett Goodes said the club had paid close attention to what MARS Stadium could offer on game day. But the Bulldogs wanted to keep a few surprises in place.

“We’ve been looking at an opening ceremony and there’s a lot of community involvement in that,” Mr Goodes said.

We’ve been looking at an opening ceremony and there’s a lot of community involvement in that. We want activation … We’re excited it’s all coming together.

- Brett Goodes

“We want activation … We’re excited it’s all coming together.”

Community groups involved are tipped to include the Bulldogs-led programs: Bulldogs Read (children’s literacy), Sons of the West (men’s health) and Western Bulldogs Leadership Project (youth leaders).

Western Bulldogs released a limited general admission ticket allocation on Wednesday – a final guaranteed chance to get in to their August 19 clash with Port Adelaide.

Initial ticket allocations were exhausted in early July. Seats sold out within three minutes of being open to the general public. City of Ballarat will offer a free live site in Ballarat Showgrounds.

Bulldogs of the pet variety are set to gather a pack in Alfred Deakin Place on Sunday in what will kick-off the final week’s countdown to the historic match.

The Bull-Doggie-Do will be led by the club’s official mascot Caesar, a Ballarat-bred British Bulldog, in a bid to bring together more than 170 registered bulldogs within City of Ballarat boundaries – out-of-town bulldogs and other four-legged doggie friends are invited.

Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said final preparations were lifting the city’s excitement and anticipation levels up a notch leading into game day. 

“Those who are not getting along to the game can still find ways to get involved, like those who just love bulldogs. We can celebrate as a whole city.”