EFL: Night game to open new season

BAYSWATER Oval's lights will open the new Eastern Football League season with a night match on April 12.

The newly christened lights have been used twice by Bayswater Cricket Club after coming on line during the spring and the football club had long planned to play at least one night match with possibly more to follow.

The Waters will play rivals Mulgrave in a match which will be highly anticipated with both sides aiming for finals campaigns in 2013.

Waters coach Neil Winterton said he and his side were looking forward to the match and hoped to play in front of a finals-sized crowd with no AFL game in Melbourne that night.

"It's something different which we will be looking forward to," he said.

"We haven't played too much night footy over the past few years, so it will be a really good opportunity to showcase the new lights. Hopefully, we get a big crowd as well."

The EFL released it season fixture on Monday with all four divisions to start on April 13.

The Waters and Lions split their two matches last season and with Winterton being a former Mulgrave player. "We split our matches last year, they beat us on our ground and we beat them on their ground," he said.

While the Waters train under lights for much of the season, Winterton said playing under lights would be a different experience and he may seek out a night practice match in preparation for round one.

Winterton said the Waters were close to signing several recruits.

Rowville will make its debut in division 1 with a much-anticipated clash with Vermont at Seebeck Oval with former Hawks playing coach Kris Barlow leading the Eagles against Hawks coach Paul Mynott. The EFL has announced at least three games will be played on Anzac Day, highlighted by Mooroolbark's twilight clash with Waverley Blues.

EFL football operations manager Phil Murton said clubs were asking for more rivalry matches in an attempt to grow crowds.

"Apart from the constraints we put in with the seeded draw in Divisions 1, 3 and 4, clubs are looking to maximise crowds and develop rivalries, so they are requesting more specific match-ups than ever before," he said.

"We believe our four-division structure gives all clubs the opportunity to find a grade that suits where its aspirations are at that time."

The full fixtures for all four divisions are available at efl.org.au

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