The full AFLW game for the historic 18-team competition is coming up. However, there are concerns about choosing the venue for a blockbuster.
AFL Women’s Premier League coach Bec Goddard has urged the league to consider moving Hawthorn’s first-ever AFLW game against Essendon to Marvel Stadium, declaring “nobody rises to low expectations”.
The league unveiled the game for the August season – the second for 2022 after the upcoming season was brought forward from the summer – and includes:
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* an AFL men’s big finals day game with Richmond to host Brisbane at Punt Road Oval at 11.10am.
*Richmond and Essendon TO meet in the league’s first-ever Dreamtime game on September 18th.
* The prospect of double headers with men’s finals in Victoria or on the Interstate, as some game times are flexible.
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But as the Hawks and Bombers both prepare to play in their first AFLW seasons, Goddard said she thinks the league’s Docklands Stadium would be a better fit than Port Melbourne’s planned North Port Oval venue – with a capacity of 10,000 people – for the August 27 meeting.
“It’s a really exciting duel. I think it’s very hard to find a black cat in a dark room when the black cat isn’t even in the room,” Goddard said.
“No one rises to low expectations. And we have high expectations of our players. We have great expectations of our fans.
“We know that Hawthorn and Essendon traditionally hate each other with the force of a thousand suns. And I’m so excited for the opportunity that we have to sell out this game.
“Huge numbers came out (at the VFLW big finals on Sunday) and the floor really creaked.
“If we sell it out, it has to be moved to Marvel. I’d love to see it move to Marvel and our players and our opening teams and all of our fans to be able to see that game in Round 1 in a stadium.
Goddard said it was “not a case of ‘rather'” but rather the league believing in the game and showing fans of both clubs that they believe in their ability.
“There is no men’s football this weekend. We have more than 75,000 traditional football club members and a rivalry that is second to none,” said the Hawthorn manager.
“We want to be able to really promote this game and steer our teams in the right direction. I checked – nothing seems to be going on at Marvel so #MoveItToMarvel – the movement starts here.
“I don’t want to get into a situation where our fans miss something because we didn’t postpone it.”
Thousands of fans attended North Port Oval on Sunday as Essendon’s VFLW team claimed the Premiership title, with some fans reporting long queues for food, drink and facilities.
Essendon colleague Natalie Wood said that while the ground was “really quite unique”, the opportunity for families to participate had to be of paramount importance.
“I think there’s a tipping point where families can’t come along to see the game because of the size, then maybe we need to see if there’s a best place for our families to come and attend,” Wood said .
“The women’s game is one for the community and one for families and friends. We just want everyone to be able to be there. (Playing) on the right ground makes everyone come.”
AFL chief of finance, clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said the league has been conscious of providing security for players as they continue to juggle work, study and football.
The ticketing system remains the same as the previous 2022 season, with all tickets requiring pre-booking.
Adults can enter for $10, while children under 18 are free.
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The historic 18-team AFLW competition opens with a grudge match between Carlton and Collingwood at the Ikon Park venue that marked the beginning of professional women’s football.
The Herald Sun can reveal that Carlton will host the pies on August 25 at 7:10 p.m. in a Thursday clash, with the game of the seventh of the AFLW being released earlier this week.
The following night, Adelaide host their defeated Grand Final opponents Melbourne in a Friday night clash at the Norwood Oval.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan famously reassured angry blues and pies fans who couldn’t gain entry to crowded Ikon Park in 2017 as 24,500 fans witnessed the first game of the AFLW competition.
The game was locked out at quarter time as fans were still queuing anyway and Carlton star Darcy Vescio said of the occasion: “I think every girl that was out there tonight will cherish that moment for the rest of their lives.”
Collingwood lost a provisional final to Brisbane last year while Carlton finished eighth and then lost four stars Maddi Prespakis and Georgia Gee to Essendon and Grace Egan to St Kilda.
However, the two rivals can be expected to put up an all-out battle given their rivalry and history as AFL clubs.
Adelaide held off Melbourne by 13 points and won their third Premiership that year after flags in 2017 and 2019 but lost star Erin Phillips to city rivals Port Adelaide.
The marquee games on Thursday and Friday evening at the start of the season should provide plenty of fireworks in a competition in which all 18 teams in the league take part.
The Wallabies play the Springboks at the Adelaide Oval over the weekend of August 26-27 therefore the venue is unavailable.
This means Port Adelaide will begin their AFLW adventure ahead of a Round 2 home game on the west coast.
The Herald Sun understand Port Adelaide will have to wait until Round 6 to host Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval, where Phillips will face the team in which she won three Premierships.
The AFLW season begins the weekend of the men’s prefinals bye-bye and then runs through to the finals in early November.
Clubs are concerned about the level of football with four new sides but believe it will give a long-term boost to competition despite the teething troubles.
Originally published as AFLW Fixture News: Check out the latest in the new 18 team competition
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/aflw/aflw-fixture-news-see-the-latest-in-the-new-18-team-competition/news-story/884a8276384d89c132acf56bca5ee297?nk=efbf3174aecf9ec6e9dc09337fc35022-1656915967 AFLW 2022 Game: Bec Goddard challenges the venue in each game of the 18-team expansion