Etihad Stadium will now host two women’s Grand Finals in the space of a month, with confirmation the AFL International Cup women’s decider will played at the venue on Saturday, August 19.
The decision by league headquarters means that the two women’s IC17 Semi-Final winners will play off as a curtain-raiser to the Round 22 AFL men’s match between Carlton and Hawthorn.
It’s anticipated the game would start around 4:30pm on the Saturday, some three hours after the completion of the men’s AFL International Cup Grand Final at the MCG.
The AFL’s Head of International Development, Grant Williams, said the move was a positive one for international Australian football, with the women’s final upgrading from a VFL venue (Punt Road Oval) to an AFL stadium.
“We are so pleased to have secured both the MCG and Etihad Stadium to conclude this year’s International Cup,” Williams told the league website.
“Planning is in full swing at AFL House and amongst the international football community.
“We anticipate the fixtures will be released in early July.”
The triennial two-week tournament features more than 200 women from North America, Europe and the South Pacific, with Canada the reigning champions after defeating Ireland in the 2014 final.
The AFL’s decision follows an announcement last week by AFL Victoria, revealing the VFL Women’s Grand Final would be played at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, September 24.
That move sees the Victorian women’s decider shifted from its regular home of Coburg City Oval to now be part of the triple-header at the Docklands venue, along with the TAC Cup and VFL men’s Grand Finals.
AFL Victoria CEO, Steven Reaper, confirmed there was an additional benefit for Victorian women’s football by making the move.
“As an added bonus, our VFL broadcast partner Channel 7 will provide TV coverage of both the men’s and women’s Grand Finals, adding further exposure to what is already a big day in September.
“We thank Channel 7 for its support of our two VFL competitions, especially committing to broadcast our VFL Women’s Grand Final in only its second season.”