by Ben Higgins – Leader local footy news
Newly promoted Eltham will renew its rivalry with Greensborough in a Good Friday blockbuster to kick off the NFNL Division 1 season.
Eltham and Greensborough will renew hostilities in a Good Friday blockbuster to launch the 2024 Northern Football Netball League season.
The league will kick off the new season in style with two season-openers as Lalor also hosts Epping at Sydney Crescent.
The Borough will host the traditional clash at War Memorial Reserve on March 29, the neighbouring rivals’ first meeting since 2017.
The Panthers claimed bragging rights in the last Good Friday clash, winning by four points at War Memorial Reserve, but would be relegated by the end of the season.
The match will also see Greensborough 2014 premiership co-captains Matthew Hyde and Tim Bongetti go head-to-head on the sidelines as coaches of the Borough and Panthers respectively.
It will be Hyde’s first foray into senior coaching, leading the club his father coached to three flags.
While Bongetti takes Eltham back to the top-flight after claiming the Division 2 premiership last year.
Greensborough president Jason Lawler said it was great to have the traditional season-opener back.
“From a club perspective, it’s good to have Eltham back in Divvy 1 so we can revive – I don’t know if it’s a rivalry – but a game that both clubs actively supported,” he said.
“Bongo (Bongetti) is coaching down (at Eltham), he’s a 2014 premiership player for us, and Hoops (Michael Hooper) was assistant coach and has come back with work with Matt, they’re all good mates.
“I would have thought there’d be a pretty good crowd.
“I think people are ready for football by then, so I don’t think the Easter go-away will affect it too much.”
Good Friday falls on the last weekend in March in 2024, two weeks before the scheduled start of the Division 1 season on April 13.
Round 1 in Division 2 and 3 has been set for April 6.
Eltham will also return to its traditional Anzac weekend clash against Montmorency, with the match to fall on April 27 next year.
Meanwhile, Epping will kick off the Division 3 season as it looks to reset after a one-win season and relegation.
The full Division 1 Round 1 will commence on April 13, while Division 3 kicks off fully on April 6.
The Division 2 season also begins on April 6.
Full season season fixtures will be released in the next few days