The AFLW grand final will likely be held at Marvel Stadium – even if Brisbane win hosting rights and face a Melbourne-based team.
Minor premiers Brisbane won’t be able to play at home, given Metricon Stadium – where the club played its qualifying final – is unavailable due to a music festival.
Pleas for use of the Gabba have fallen on deaf ears with cricket holding rights to the venue, and currently preparing for both a Sheffield Shield clash and a Test match in the coming weeks.
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With just Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and North Melbourne still in the AFLW finals race, the grand final is likely to be played at Marvel Stadium – unless there’s some big upsets looming in the preliminary finals.
The Lions will face the Crows, and should Adelaide win, they’d then need North Melbourne to upset the Demons to win hosting rights in South Australia.
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Should either Brisbane or Melbourne win, Herald Sun journalist Lauren Wood said the grand final would likely head to Marvel Stadium.
“This is where it gets interesting,” she said on Fox Footy.
“Potentially Unley (Oval) in South Australia if Adelaide host, Marvel if it’s the Demons and they are still saying Queensland if it’s Brisbane but I’ll be shocked if it’s not at Marvel Stadium – even if it’s Brisbane hosting.
“They’ve fought hard for the Gabba against cricket, but unfortunately cricket has won out there. Springfield (Brisbane’s newest facility) is not ready. Metricon has got Calvin Harris.
“Unfortunately the DJ is going to take precedence at Metricon and Moreton Bay, I just can’t see them playing it there.”
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Wood said she expects the AFL to make the call on Marvel Stadium.
“(AFLW boss) Nicole Livingstone made the point the other day the AFL controls grand final week and we will decide. So Marvel looms,” she said.
The grand final debacle just the tip of the obstacles the AFLW has faced by moving season seven to a different timeslot.
Instead of the usual summer season, the AFL opted to play the AFLW from August in a bid to get the code some “clean air” in the sporting landscape.
But instead, the game has found itself up against other codes, while venue clashes have played a part.
Marvel Stadium has played host to a match in season seven already, with the first ever Hawthorn-Essendon AFLW clash heading to the bigger venue due to crowd demand.
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More than 12,000 fans turned out for the contest, with coaches Bec Goddard and Natalie Wood both calling for the venue to be used more often.
“Just give the women the opportunity to play in big stadiums and the fans will come,” Goddard said.
A final call on the grand final venue will be made within a week.