St Kilda will return to Tropical North Queensland in 2022 as part of a blockbuster clash against Port Adelaide under lights at Cazalys’ Stadium.

The prime-time match – which will be broadcast live and free on Channel 7 on Saturday night – will be held on 30 April as part of Round 7.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions preventing non-Queensland fans from attending the inaugural match in 2021, a 6000-strong crowd packed into Cazalys’ Stadium last June in what was Saints’ first venture to the tropics for Premiership points.

“We’re thrilled to return to Cairns in 2022 and are incredibly excited to be welcomed back by our Queensland faithful,” St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis said.

“Cazalys’ Stadium, and the entire north Queensland area, is a wonderful part of the world and it’s only fitting that the match will be held in prime-time.

Although last year was challenging with travel restrictions, we hope to see as many St Kilda fans and supporters visit the region and soak up the tropical north sunshine in April.

- St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis

“I’d like to thank Tourism Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Cairns Regional Council for their support again in 2022 and we look forward to reconnecting with the Cairns local community when we return north.”

Saints supporters far and wide are encouraged to make the trip interstate and cheer on the red, white and black for the perfect pre-winter getaway. Inner sanctum experiences for local and travelling fans will be communicated in the lead-up to the match. 

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the region was looking forward to welcoming St Kilda back in 2022.

“We are delighted that this year St Kilda’s many fans will have the opportunity to travel to Cairns to cheer their club on and enjoy a break in Tropical North Queensland,” he said.

“Cairns has a longstanding relationship with the AFL having successfully hosted the Richmond Tigers and Western Bulldogs in previous years.”

A contribution was made using grant funding from the Australian Government under the Recovery for Regional Tourism program, an initiative of the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning welcomed the return of AFL footy in Tropical North Queensland. 

“Having AFL come back to Cairns is wonderful news and to host two interstate teams is great for our city,” Cr Manning said.

“Both St Kilda and Port Adelaide have well established and passionate supporters and I am confident that with borders open, we will be welcoming many travelling fans to our city for the match, who will no doubt take time to explore what our region has to offer.

“Again, this is a chance to showcase our city and its many attributes – from the reef and rainforest to heritage buildings like the newly refurbished Court House art gallery and of course the Esplanade Dining Precinct – to a wider audience.

“Certainly, April is a great time to be in Cairns, and no better place outside a metropolitan centre to play elite football. 

“Cazalys’ Stadium is quite simply the best AFL oval in regional Australia.”

The Cairns AFL fixture is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.