Gather Round is an annual Australian Football League event in which all games in one home-and-away round are played in a single city and its surrounds. The event was first held in 2023 in Adelaide, South Australia, which will host the round each year until 2026.


In September 2022, the Australian Football League (AFL) announced it would host a version of Magic Round in 2023, a round in which all matches would be played in a single city outside of Victoria.[1][2] The AFL's major competitor, the National Rugby League (NRL), had staged a Magic Round since 2019, in which all matches were played at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, while another competing competition, Super Rugby Pacific, has held a Super Round since 2022, in which all matches were played at AAMI Park. The two rugby competitions' rounds were in turn based on its European rugby league counterpart, the Super League, which had staged Magic Weekend in a variety of cities since 2007.[3][4][5] In November 2022, the inaugural round was awarded to South Australia, which beat a bid from New South Wales.[6] In December 2022, it was given the pun name 'Gather Round' with the tagline 'a festival of footy'.

Unlike its rugby equivalents, Gather Round matches are all scheduled for the same city, but not the same venue. In the inaugural edition, for example: six games were played at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide's only regular AFL venue; two games were played at the suburban Norwood Oval; and one game was played at Summit Sports Park in Mount Barker, about 30km outside Adelaide in the surrounding Adelaide Hills.[7]

In the inaugural event, all nine Gather Round matches sold out, and more than 60,000 people purchased tickets from interstate. On the final day of the first Gather Round, South Australia was announced as the event's host for the next three seasons until 2026.[8][9][10]


Gather Round was added to the AFL home-and-away season as an extra round, extending the length of the standard season from 22 matches to 23. It is run as an AFL event, meaning that there is no designated home team for gate purposes, that club memberships do not grant entry to the games, and that usual club member reserved seating does not apply – although club members are given priority access ahead of the general public to purchase tickets.[11] Home team designations for match day purposes – which include choice of uniforms, change rooms and run-on order – are decided by a coin toss.[12] When a venue hosts two matches on the same day, these are staged as a ticketed double-header, with a single ticket granting access to both matches.[13]

List of Gather Rounds

Season Round Dates City Venues (matches) Attendance
2023 Round 5 13–16 April Adelaide, South Australia Adelaide Oval (6), Norwood Oval (2), Summit Sports Park (1) 268,287 (ave. 29,810 per match)
2024 Round 4 4−7 April Adelaide, South Australia Adelaide Oval (5), Norwood Oval (2), Summit Sports Park (2) 267,643 (ave. 29,738 per match)
2025 Adelaide, South Australia Adelaide Oval, Lyndoch Recreation Park
2026 Adelaide, South Australia

See also


  1. ^ AFL pushing Magic Round concept for 2023 Canberra Times 20 September 2022
  2. ^ NSW firms as favourite for AFL ‘Magic Round’; delisted Blue’s anxiety struggle; Hurley’s new role; AFLW round 10 fixture The Age 7 October 2022
  3. ^ Magic Round tricks every box as crowds respond to Brisbane event Sydney Morning Herald 14 October 2022
  4. ^ AFL news 2022: Extra round, all games in one state, magic round, new fixture in 2023, details, Gillon McLachlan interview Fox Sports Australia 14 October 2022
  5. ^ AFL pushing Magic Round concept for 2023 ESPN 14 October 2022
  6. ^ Dom Perrottet fires up in AFL war of words after SA premier’s ‘sloppy seconds’ Sydney whack Seven News 11 November 2022
  7. ^ "'Gather Round ... A Festival of Footy' is headed to South Australia". Australian Football League. 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  8. ^ Australian Associated Press (16 April 2023). "'Unbelievable success': SA secures Gather Round until 2026". Retrieved 17 April 2023.
  9. ^ Gather Round to stay in SA until 2026, injects $86m into state economy Business News 17 April 2023
  10. ^ AFL makes huge announcement on future of Gather Round 17 April 2023
  11. ^ "'Gather Round ... A Festival of Footy' is headed to South Australia". AFL Media. 9 December 2022. Archived from the original on 8 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Gather Round Festival of Footy – coin toss to decide home teams". Ozsports Radio. 11 April 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
  13. ^ "Gather Round tickets". Ticketek. Archived from the original on 13 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022.