The inaugural and historic AFLW season has been nothing but a runaway success in just about every measurable area, but one hurdle right at the end of the race is putting a slight dampener on celebrations.
The AFL has suddenly found itself with a clusterfuck-style situation regarding the first-ever AFLW Grand Final, and it’s thanks in large part to Adele.
The Lions, by virtue of finishing on top of the AFLW ladder with an unbeaten record of 6-0-1, earned the right to host the first Grand Final, where they are set to take on the highly-fancied Adelaide Crows to determine the inaugural AFLW premiers.
The AFL made the decision to give the minor premiers hosting rights to the Grand Final, rather than follow the men’s line of holding the Grand Final at the “neutral” MCG regardless of who the participants are.
The only problem with this, is that Adele made a recent stop in Brisbane at the ‘Gabba as part of her national tour that wrapped up in Melbourne last night.
The show used an “in-the-round” stage, meaning production was set up in the centre wicket area of the ground’s turf. Unlike other grounds in Australia, the ‘Gabba does not use a drop-in pitch area, and as a result ground staff have demanded that the turf gets six weeks off to recover.
Fairfax Media is now reporting that, as a result, the AFLW Grand Final will be held at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, rather than in Brisbane, this coming Saturday at 2pm.
AFL officials are reportedly set to confirm the move following consultation with multiple turf experts who have deemed the playing surface unsafe.
The AFL had already pushed the start of the planned men’s opening round clash between Gold Coast and Brisbane – also set to take place at Metricon Stadium – from 6:25pm to 7:05pm in order to accomodate a potential “curtain raiser” Grand Final.
It’s understood that some league executives voted in favour of moving the game to the freely available Adelaide Oval, which would have been an embarrassing PR disaster for the burgeoning league.
The turf recovery time at the Gabba is also throwing the men’s Lions round 2 home clash against Essendon into jeopardy, with serious questions to be raised if the ground is unsuitable for a women’s clash one week, but okay for the men to run on a mere seven days later.
The AFLW Grand Final between Brisbane and Adelaide goes down this coming Saturday. If their regular season clash is anything to go by, this is gonna be an absolute belter.
Source: The Age.
Photo: Adam Trafford, AFL Media/Getty.