The AFL has been slammed for a fixture clash that will see the AFLW grand final shafted.
The AFLW season-decider is yet to be locked in ahead of this weekend’s preliminary finals, but the decider is set to be squeezed in between the Round 5 action of the AFL season and will almost certainly be played at a time when there is also a game of men’s footy unfolding.
Footy Classified panellist Caroline Wilson led the criticism of the AFL on Monday night, accusing the league of failing to support the emerging AFLW with a set fixture weeks ago that locked in the AFLW with its own stand-alone timeslot.
The Adelaide Oval, Gabba and MCG are all in the running to host the grand final with Top seed Adelaide facing Melbourne this weekend while Brisbane hosts Collingwood in the second preliminary final.
The Age first reported Tuesday the game will likely be played at the Adelaide Oval after the Crows-Dockers clash at 1.10pm (AEST) on Sunday, April 18.
If Brisbane wins through to the final, the grand final could also be played as a curtain-raiser to the Lions’ clash with Essendon at the Gabba on Saturday night.
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The Crows pose for a photograph with the premiership cup after winning the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.Source:Getty Images
If Melbourne and Collingwood both qualify, the game would almost certainly head to the MCG, which hosts a night game on Saturday and a 3:20pm game on Sunday; the latter featuring the Demons.
There are no AFL games scheduled for Sunday night on April 18, and games at the Adelaide Oval or the MCG would still give the AFLW a timeslot predominantly to itself with the Cats-Kangaroos game scheduled to finish by 7.30pm.
“How disappointing that the big play-off capping off a fabulous season looks more likely now to be a Saturday twilight game, clashing with the Swans and Giants in Round 5, particularly when some bold planning could have given the women’s grand final their own stand-alone timeslot, potentially even on a Thursday night,” Wilson said.
Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips.Source:Getty Images
“There’s a lot of change looming for the AFLW, but in the short term, here’s a suggestion – if Adelaide beat Melbourne next weekend to host the grand final, why not fixture it on Sunday, April 18 at Adelaide Oval after the Crows-Fremantle game. What a powerful statement that would be. Tex (Walker) and Rory (Sloane) playing curtain raiser to Erin (Phillips) and Chelsea (Randall).”
Meanwhile, Collingwood co-captain Stephanie Chiocci says the AFLW would “love to take over the channels” and have its own space in the sporting calendar, but accepts the scheduling problems that currently present themselves.
“In an ideal world, we’d love to take over the channels and be the only game playing,” Chiocci said.
“But it’s the way it is at the moment. We’re fully understanding of that. We’re playing in a summer competition.
“I look forward to the day that we are a stand-alone competition where it’s not clashing with any other sport. But for the moment it is what it is.
Fox Sports has launched a dedicated Women’s channel for the month of April, which is showcasing the AFLW finals.
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