WHEN the opportunity arose for Subiaco to take their league team to Kalgoorlie this season there was little hesitation.
Lions chief executive Peter Capes is excited about the club returning to a region which has special links.
"We last played in Kalgoorlie in 2014 then Esperance in 2017 and have been keen to return to the Goldfields since then," Capes said.
"When the RIO funding initiative was sent to clubs, we immediately put together a proposal with the full support of the local council and football stakeholders.
"That support has been critical in the lead up to the match. The Goldfields Football League have been outstanding, and the City of Kalgoorlie were quick to support the day by sponsoring the game."
A lifelong Subiaco supporter, the event is a special occasion for Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler.
“WAFL games in the Goldfields have always attracted great crowds and Saturday should be no exception," he said.
Subiaco have built up a good support base in the region because of the hard work they’ve done in their country zone.
Bowler is delighted Channel 7 is showing the match across WA, not to mention it being streamed on the AFL app.
“I think Sir Richard Moore Oval is one of the best country football ovals in WA and the telecast will showcase the city to the rest of the state, highlighting what we have to offer in contemporary sporting facilities,” Bowler said.
There are obstacles to making this weekend an annual event for Subiaco.
“We would love to play a game in either Kalgoorlie or Esperance every year however the cost is a major consideration," Capes said.
"Our Lions Pride Talent Academy is a priority. However, we’ll take every opportunity to play in our zones."
From an on-field perspective, Subiaco coach Beau Wardman is acutely aware of the top end talent to come out of the region.
“It’s been terrific to see the likes of Kyal Horsley, Dom Sheed, Scott Worthington, Ben and Jacob Miller, Hayden Kennedy, Ryan and Jack Borchet and Chayce Paparone build their careers in Perth after getting their start in the Goldfields," Wardman said.
"These players and many more have offered so much to the playing group and their appetite for hard work has been pivotal to our success over several years."
The reigning premiers are expecting great support for the match against Swan Districts on Saturday.
"I know there’s great anticipation for the game from our players and what it means for the community in Kalgoorlie," Wardman said.
"In the build-up to the match, we’ll call on past and current players about their footy journey from the Goldfields.
"We hope there’s a bumper crowd for all games on the day and our players will be available after the match to meet and mix with spectators."
With just one win for the season, the coach admits there’s scope for improvement.
“We’ve have had an inconsistent start to the season with our performances," he said.
"But there’s great optimism in the group and we take confidence from the win against East Perth and the resilience and fight when the game was on the line. The competition is very even, and we need to be at our best to beat Swans on Saturday."