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Your guide to Ballarat’s 21 May AFL match

Visit Ballarat

17 May 2022

Filed underSee & Do

The Western Bulldogs are returning to Ballarat this Saturday 21 May to take on the Gold Coast Suns at Mars Stadium.

Part of the AFL’s annual Sir Doug Nicholls Round, the round 10 match will kick off at 1.45pm (gates open at midday).

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster

With the Ballarat Heritage Festival also on, as well as the Australian Masters Rowing Championships at Lake Wendouree, there is expected to be extra traffic on the roads to Ballarat and around Mars Stadium.

The Western Bulldogs anticipate there will be large crowds and some queuing at the game, so please give yourself ample time to get to the stadium and get to your seat.

The Western Bulldogs’s Indigenous guernsey has been designed by former player Lindsay Gilbee

Sir Doug Nicholls Round

Uncle Barry Gilson of the Wadawurrung People will perform a special Welcome To Country ceremony at 1.38pm.

This will be followed by a gift exchange at the toss of the coin.

The Western Bulldogs will once again wear the Indigenous guernsey designed by former player Lindsay Gilbee.

It features reflections of his family history and the Boandik people of Mt Gambier, with Lindsay working closely with renowned Aboriginal artist Nathan Patterson to help translate aspects of his story.

Participants from the Western Bulldog’s Nallei Jerring Youth Leadership Program will complete a lap of honour at quarter-time and feature in an interview at half-time.

Match day music will feature a playlist of Indigenous Australian artists.

Fan activities, giveaways and services

Mars giveaways: Thanks to Mars, free chocolate will be up for grabs inside Gate 1, Gate 2 and Gate 3.

FanZone: Inside Gate 3 on the netball courts (directly behind the interchange benches), you’ll find a range of kids’ activities including an inflatable and handball target. Ballarat’s KIDS Foundation will also be in the FanZone, where you can meet their mascot SeeMore and learn about the Put Your Hand Up campaign to keep every child free from injury and harm.

Macca’s Kick-2-Kick: Bring your footy and stick around after the final siren (approximately 4.25pm) to have a kick on Mars Stadium once the players have left the field.

Bulldogs Shop and membership enquiries: Visit the Bulldogs Shop inside Gate 1 and Gate 2 and check out the club’s new Indigenous range by Nathan Patterson, including Lindsay Gilbee’s ‘Journey of Discovery’ match day guernsey. The Western Bulldogs Membership Services team will also be in the ticket booths at Gate 1 and Gate 2, as well as outside Gate 3.

Getting there and getting in

Gates open at midday, with the first bounce at 1.45pm.

Shuttle bus

From 11.30am, a shuttle bus service will depart the Ballarat Train Station’s bus terminal and travel to Mars Stadium.

From 3pm, the return shuttle bus service will depart Mars Stadium and drop passengers off in Lydiard Street North outside the train station.

A second drop-off will be made in Sturt Street outside the Ballarat Town Hall.

Services are expected to operate until all patrons have left the stadium (approximately 5.30pm).

Please note: The Park & Ride Shuttle service that has previously operated will not be in operation.


Regular V/Line trains will be operating with additional services stopping all stations as follows:

  • To Ballarat – depart Southern Cross at 10.35am, arriving Ballarat at 11.59am
  • From Ballarat – depart Ballarat at 5.01pm, arriving Southern Cross at 6.29pm


Hundreds of parking spaces will be available at C.E Brown Reserve and surrounding ovals.

These parking spaces can be accessed from Dowling Street, giving patrons access to the Mars Stadium gates via a short walk.

Additional on-street parking will be available for drivers in Howitt and Norman streets, as well as Creswick Road (north of Norman Street).

Drivers are reminded there is accessible parking at the North Ballarat Sports Club, however all other traffic will be directed to park at one of the other designated parking areas.

A drop-off and pick-up zone will also be set up directly outside Gate 2 on Creswick Road.

Meet Doug Hawkins at Ballarat’s Hop Temple on Friday 20 May

Make a weekend out of it

On Friday 20 May, head to Ballarat a day early to meet Western Bulldogs legends Doug Hawkins, Scott West and Lindsay Gilbee at Hop Temple from 6.30pm.

The free event will feature a panel Q&A with the champs at 7pm, then you can catch them for a beer and a meet and greet afterwards.

Or play on after the footy and discover all of the new eateries and bars in town, or make it a family affair and go for gold at the iconic Sovereign Hill or talk to the animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

With both the Ballarat Heritage Festival and Australian Masters Rowing Championships on in Ballarat, accommodation is in high demand.

If you plan to stay overnight, make sure you book early to avoid disappointment as accommodation is selling out fast.

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The City of Ballarat acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung People, and recognises their continuing connection to the land and waterways. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend this to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.