ALBURY Council will start work immediately towards securing an AFL pre-season match at Lavington Sportsground next year after losing this month's blockbuster between Richmond and Western Bulldogs.
In a major overhaul of the community series fixture, the Border was one of the biggest losers as officials moved to slash travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coffs Harbour and Morwell also lost matches with most now being played at AFL and AFLW venues.
"Naturally we're disappointed at the AFL's decision but we understand it's a national competition that has many challenges in a difficult environment," Albury mayor Kevin Mack said.
"The decision does not reflect on Lavington Sportsground or Albury as a destination - in fact, the ground and the city have both been praised by elite sporting organisations - and we'll work with the AFL towards hosting a game in 2022.
"We understand local fans will share our disappointment but thanks to the high quality redevelopment of our premier sports ground we're looking forward to hosting other top-level matches, including Super Rugby and Big Bash cricket."
Richmond and Western Bulldogs were originally scheduled to play at Lavington on Saturday, February 27, with a bumper crowd expected to watch stars players including Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Marcus Bontempelli.
The AFL has reduced the pre-season series from two rounds to be played across three weeks down to just one round from Wednesday, March 3, to Sunday, March 7.
The ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels have locked in a Super Rugby trial game at the newly-developed Lavington ground on February 19.