The AFL has come under fire for its “missed opportunity” by scheduling an AFLW final to clash with a Matildas match, forcing fans to choose between the two sports.
The match between the Matildas and world number two ranked Sweden was announced back in August for this Saturday afternoon at AAMI Park.
But the AFL has opted to host both AFLW finals this Saturday as well – with Richmond hosting North Melbourne at the smaller Punt Road from 1.40pm, despite Friday night and Sunday being options for the code.
Furphy has made the commitment to provide equal support to its AFL and AFLW teams. Don’t support the AFLW? Unbelievable.
There’s also a WBBL clash to be held at Junction Oval on Saturday from 1.40pm.
The second final will be held in Adelaide from 4.10pm – and will clash with the annual Christmas Pageant.
AFLW expert and Fox Footy commentator Chyloe Kurdas was left unimpressed by the scheduling conflicts.
“A limited number of people could physically go and have the (AFL)W experience with a smaller venue, then a clash with a marquee international sporting event. So, it doesn’t make sense … it’s a bit of an own goal,” Kurdas told The Age.
“It doesn’t make sense to split your women’s sports fan base.
“If you’re going to host a game at Punt Road, either host it early or host it late and then allow fans to go to both. What they’re essentially asking fans to do is choose.”
Tickets for Richmond’s AFLW final sold out within minutes on Monday, but the venue holds just 2800 people.
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Tigers chief Brendon Gale has defended the club’s decision to host its semi-final at Punt Road, despite crowds of more than 4000 predicted.
“Ultimately we decided our AFLW team had earned the right to play a home final,” Gale said.
“Our players and coaching staff have worked incredibly hard for this opportunity and are very excited to be playing at the Swinburne Centre.
“While we understand some fans will be disappointed given the capacity of the venue, we owe it to our players to give them the best chance of winning.”
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In the past Gale had called on men’s Tigers games against Geelong to be played at a larger stadium in Melbourne.
Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney weighed in on the AFLW fixturing, and believes the summer slot is where the sport is best suited.
“It’s a busy week at the moment, it’s Melbourne Cup week, there’s four race meetings on, there’s plenty of other sports happening, the T20 World Cup, there’s probably too much happening at this time of year for the players and the AFLW to get the clear air,” he said on SEN.
“In the summer there’s a lot more news being generated because there’s not a lot to talk about sport wise.
“(AFLW) gets its own clear run. People are more intrigued.
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“It makes way more sense from my point of view to have it when they can get their own clear air. It’s sort of been lost with the horse racing and what else has been on this week.
“The conditions are obviously tough to play in (over summer), but the men are training in the exact same conditions as well.”