Collingwood heading to Aurora to play Hawks

AFL powerhouse Collingwood will visit Aurora Stadium for the first time in the modern era when it faces reigning premier Hawthorn in the NAB Challenge match in February.

The match will be played on Thursday, February 26, at 7.10pm to kick-off the preseason series.

When the final siren sounds in February, it will mean every club other than Essendon would have played either a home and away or a preseason match since the ground started hosting AFL matches in 2001.

It will be played the day after the Launceston Cup, one of the busiest periods in the city.

For the first time in more than a decade, AFL club members - whose tickets allow them entry to the game - will be able attend to the NAB Challenge games for free. 

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said having to major events running so closely together presented both challenges and opportunities for the city.

"During the preparation of the AFL roster each year, we advise the AFL of when we expect the peak event periods are likely to be — but obviously they have broader considerations than that," he said.

"The challenges for the city and the region arising from the NAB Cup match being held on February 26 are that accommodation and service providers are likely to be over extended with these two events coming so closely together. But there are also enormous opportunities for local businesses.

"Hawthorn are back-to-back premiers and this will be their first outing for 2015. On top of that we have another tier-one side in Collingwood, playing their first match at Aurora Stadium.

''It's also a fantastic way to kick of the celebrations for the 150th year of football in Tasmania and we would like to acknowledge the role of AFL Tasmania chief executive Scott Wade in working with the AFL to bring Collingwood to Tasmania.

"So it is something we all need to capitalise on; it's an exciting opportunity for Northern Tasmania and one we need to band together to make the most of."

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said although the demands on our tourism industry would be elevated, it presented a great opportunity to promote longer stays in the city and region beyond the events.

“We’ll be putting together a promotion that not only includes the two events, but also a fun packed long weekend of activities, including the newly opened Hollybank mountain bike park, wine tours of the Tamar Valley, as well as golf and fishing," Mr Griffin said.

“With such a high profile game being held in Launceston we’ll have an attentive audience in supporters of both teams to promote our region’s appeals.”

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