The AFL has confirmed a representative charity match between Victoria and an All-Stars side to raise funds for communities affected by the bushfire crisis and kicked in a $2.5 million donation.
The game will take place at Marvel Stadium on the evening of Friday, February 28.
Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick will guide the Victorians and Sydney's John Longmire will coach the All-Stars.
All clubs will be asked to make at least three players available for the match, with the selection process still to be determined.
The fixture will be a double-header with the AFLW match between Collingwood and Melbourne, scheduled for the same day, which will be moved from Victoria Park to Marvel Stadium.
The proceeds will be split between the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund and a Community Relief Fund set up the AFL to help rebuild football facilities destroyed by bushfires.
The AFL, the clubs and AFL Players Association combined to get the ball rolling with a $2.5 million donation.
While the governing body's contribution to the bushfire crisis is commendable, the details around the 'State of Origin' match have been openly questioned.
The state vs state concept is something sporting fans are particularly passionate about in Australia, with the AFL's match falling outside that traditional format.
While many fans have praised the match for its fundraising potential, many were left disappointed by the fact it's not a true State of Origin contest.
🔒 Victoria v All Stars— AFL (@AFL) January 9, 2020
🏟 Friday February 28, Marvel Stadium
❤️ All money raised to support AFL Community Relief Fund
Not really state of origin, is it?— Back the Boys In (@BlackSwan0512) January 9, 2020
It's a good move charity wise.— Baron von Klar ✠ 🛩️ (@BaronvonKlar) January 9, 2020
Obviously would prefer to see real SOO. Even if it was lightning carnival style.
VIC v All Stars
SA v WA
Winner v Winner (1 v 2)
Loser v Loser (3 v 4)
Also hoping we'll eventually see the clubs get behind real SOO again.
So it's state of origin for Victoria, and meaningless blob for everyone else.— all day ciggies (@CiggyButtBrain2) January 9, 2020
Great the AFL is doing something, maybe a bit more to the victims instead of rebuilding football clubs when you compare the size of AFL in this country compared to anything else.— Shane Kelly (@ShaneKe82148829) January 9, 2020
Poor concept though but expect nothing more from Gill and his mates.
It's not State of Origin.
Good initiative but dont call it State of Origin. We are not that stupid!— Matthew Benger (@Mattbenger34) January 9, 2020
Its not State of Origin when one side isn't a state and they are called All Stars. This will be as scripted as the EJ Legends game every year. I'm all for the AFL wanting to help with the bushfire relief but this is another half effort. Just donate a few million AFL.— GRIMLOCK (@GRIMLOCKCRUSH) January 9, 2020
So not State of Origin then? Just to be clear...— Daniel Head (@danielhead7) January 9, 2020
Great cause. But it's not State of Origin. How disappointing.— Luke (@rishgoon) January 9, 2020
Great cause but let’s not pretend that it’s state of origin— David Lindsay (@davelindsay77) January 9, 2020
The AFL confirmed that $1m would be directly donated to the Red Cross bushfire fund, while $1.5 million would go to a Community Relief Fund.
"Our clubs, players and officials have been unanimous in providing a response that could not only raise money but also recognise the local communities impacted," AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.
"And most importantly pay tribute to those thousands of volunteers and emergency services personnel who have worked tirelessly to protect us as a community."
West Coast's pre-season series clash with Essendon at Lathlain Park scheduled on the same date as the charity match has been moved to the previous day.
The last time the AFL staged a similar representative game was in 2008 when Victoria played the Dream Team in the Hall of Fame Tribute match at the MCG, with the last State of Origin match played in 1999.
In 2009, the AFL played a fundraising match between Essendon and the Western Bulldogs to support victims of the Black Saturday bushfires, raising $1.2 million.