No Gabba for women’s final
BY ROGER VAUGHAN and BEN McKAY
BRISBANE Lions director and AFL legend Leigh Matthews has slammed a decision for the AFLW club to lose hosting rights for the grand final, calling it an “embarrassing stuff-up”.
The inaugural AFLW decider – between the unbeaten Queenslanders and Adelaide – is set to be played at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast as a curtain raiser to the AFL round one Q-Clash on Saturday.
The AFL’s preferred venue, the Gabba, was reportedly ruled out of contention when the pitch failed an inspection on Monday morning.
The surface at the Test cricket venue is seen as unsafe to host the AFLW, three weeks after it was used for an Adele concert.
Matthews savaged the decision.
“If there Adele at Etihad , OK for footy 1 week later , Adele at Gabba , unsafe for footy 3 weeks later, who is liable for the embarrassing stuff up ?,” the 65 -year-old tweeted.
Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium hosted the record-breaking British songstress for shows on the weekend just past and will host AFL matches from Saturday – six days later.
Matthews accused Gabba groundstaff of putting the summer tenants ahead of AFL needs at the south Brisbane venue.
“Wouldn’t it be great if the Gabba curator wanted a pristine football ground just as much as a pristine cricket ground,” he tweeted last week.
In shambolic scenes just days from the showpiece match, the two clubs were at odds on where the match would be played on Monday afternoon.
Brisbane insisted they were still “in negotiations” over the venue as Adelaide confirmed reports that Metricon Stadium would host the match.
The Lions have played their women’s home games at the South Pine Sports Complex in Brendale, which has a capacity of just 3,000 and is unsuitable for the grand final.
The league and the Lions were adamant they wanted the first AFLW decider played at the Gabba.
A statement from Queensland Sports Minister Mick de Brenni earlier on Monday foreshadowed it would not be possible.
“We have done everything possible to encourage the turf, but the speed at which the turf grows is outside of our control,” De Brenni said.