AFLW grand final to be stand-alone game
The AFLW grand final has been given its own timeslot and will be held at either Adelaide Oval, the Gabba or the MCG as a stand-alone game, as the Crows prepare to host the Demons in their preliminary final matchup this Saturday.
Crow Erin Phillips in action against Carlton. Photo supplied
The highest-ranked team on the AFLW ladder to qualify for the grand final will host the stand-alone game at 1:30pm ACST on Saturday, April 17, it was announced on Wednesday.
To give the AFLW decider clear air, the league has pushed back that day’s AFL game between the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast from 1.15pm ACST to 4.05pm – and AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone said there’d been no issues from either AFL club.
“This is the biggest game of the AFLW season, and it deserves clean air and it deserves a stand-alone spot,” Livingstone told reporters.
Capacity at the Gabba would be 100 per cent while the MCG and Adelaide Oval could both be at 75 per cent.
The last time Adelaide Oval hosted an AFLW Grand Final, more than 53,000 people turned up to see the Crows thrash Carlton 63-18 and claim the club’s second AFLW premiership.
“We’ve done everything that we can in terms of clear air, not competing against the AFL season, during the AFLW grand final,” Livingstone said.
“We just hope people turn out and we believe it and we think they will.”
Adelaide will play fourth-placed Melbourne in their preliminary final on Saturday while second-placed Brisbane will host third-placed Collingwood.
A debut MCG AFLW grand final is only possible if Collingwood and Melbourne both spring upsets.
If the game is played at the MCG, the round five AFL match between Carlton and Port Adelaide that night will be pushed back from 6.55pm to 7.10pm ACST.
Livingstone said the AFLW’s lack of a set grand final venue and time was a good point of difference from the men’s game.
This year there has been more crossover than ever between the men’s regular season and the women’s finals series – with Livingstone conceding the AFLW “compete against ourselves once the AFL comes into the picture.”
The league will review the competition at season’s end and Livingstone said it could consider bringing the AFLW season forward to avoid any clash with the men’s season.
“There could be a consideration of moving it,” Livingstone said.
“Right now we have the sweet spot of having all of the competitions aligned for women’s football with state leagues sitting underneath the AFLW, our NAB League is there, even our under 19 and under 17 championships are sitting there.
“So we’ll have a look at it but I think right now, our focus is 100 per cent on finishing this finals series.”