WEST Perth will learn if its heralded International Football Festival can still pull a crowd early in the season as the club heads into its first autumn scheduling of the event next weekend.
The Falcons, who like last year will be wearing a one-off British-themed sleeved guernsey, face Subiaco in the earliest edition yet of West Perth’s popular international round.
The match is normally held mid-season when football excitement is better established.
But this year, chief executive David Crute said the club went with an earlier date for the benefit of the City of Joondalup’s citizenship ceremonies at the ground, which have become an integral part of the day’s celebrations.
He explained an April schedule lessens the chance of rain spoiling the occasion.
The City is the game’s match-day sponsor.
“They’ve been asking us for the last couple of years to move it,” Mr Crute said.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate in recent years that it hasn’t rained in June or July on that particular day.”
He said it was “a little bit of an unknown” how the early-season edition would affect crowd numbers.
He admitted the club had not been able to promote the occasion through the key channel of local schools as heavily as it had done in the past.
“We haven’t been able to bombard the schools as much as we have in previous years,” he said.
“(But) through digital media and print media (coverage)… we think that will counteract any on-the-ground presence in schools.”
In addition, the match will be advertised on TV during the week with the clash being televised live for the first time.
Last year’s battle, also against Subiaco, pulled an incredible 7849 spectators.
Not even this month’s AFL pre-season match between West Coast and Gold Coast at Arena Joondalup, which attracted 5021 fans, could match that.
As in previous years, a key component of the event will be the Falcon’s one-off international jumper design.
This year’s will look similar to the 2015 version with soccer-like sleeves and a prominent Union Jack to reflect the district’s significant population of British migrants.
For the first time, the Falcons’ opponent will also wear an internationally-inspired jumper print.
Given Subiaco’s zone crosses into the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup, the Lions will wear a jumper that pays tribute to the variety of African countries represented in the district’s migrant base.
The West Perth design came about from a ‘design a jumper’ a competition in schools, while the Lions took theirs from a member of the Edmund Rice Centre Lions program.
Based in Mirrabooka, the Edmund Rice Centre focuses on engaging multicultural communities in sport, particularly residents from African nations.