If you walked into Australia at the start of March and tuned into the AFL Women’s competition, you would have thought the competition has been going on for years.
It was well organised and well run right throughout.
The competition had largely received nothing but praise in its opening season, exceeding all expectations, both on and off the field to become a success story all round.
That is, until now.
Don’t blame Adele. Don’t blame Kevin Mitchell Jnr (Gabba curator) or Stadiums Queensland.
The people who are to blame are the heavy hitters at AFL HQ.
There’s no doubting this situation could have been handled better from all parties involved but it also could have been totally avoided had the AFL simply scheduled the season a week earlier.
As it stands, not only does the team with the best record not get a home final but instead of the game being a celebration of what has been an otherwise wonderful debut season, it’s merely a curtain raiser to a game (Gold Coast v Brisbane) that doesn’t have a whole lot of fan interest to begin with.
Australia takes on India in the fourth and decisive Test match of an already heated series that is sure to come to the boil on Saturday.
Oh, and there’s the small matter of it being Grand Prix weekend in Melbourne, which, if you haven’t already heard, you’ll be sure to hear them across this coming weekend.
AFL General Manager of broadcasting, scheduling and major projects, Simon Lethlean has missed a beat here – and a big one at that – in an otherwise near flawless execution of the games latest venture.
The AFL men don’t just get a Saturday in September to showcase themselves at the pinnacle of the sport but also get a public holiday for the general public to come out and watch them get paraded in the back of a Toyota Hilux for an hour.
Do the women not deserve even half a day to themselves in order to show the whole country what they can produce on their biggest day?
The League should have started the season a week earlier, therefore playing the women’s grand final on a stand alone weekend the week before the men’s competition begins.
The week off between the JLT Community Series and round one of the AFL home and away season was the perfect opportunity for that.
Let’s hope next year the AFLW is given even more exposure and if not given its own weekend, at least given its own day for the grand final.