Australian Football League Wants Standalone AFLW Grand Final
The Australian Football League wants next year's AFL Women's grand final to be played the weekend before the men's season starts, according to Daniel Cherny of THE AGE. The AFL is weighing up "whether the benefits of ensuring the AFLW season finishes in clear air" against the "risk" the start of the competition will be "swamped by Australian Open tennis finals." The "increasingly complicated matter of the AFL's pre-April scheduling" was discussed by league CEO Gillon McLachlan, who confirmed the AFL was "keen to again kick off the finals on a Thursday night," but refused to speculate on whether Geelong would be granted a home final at Simonds Stadium. However, "strong support from clubs" means an AFLX tournament on the weekend before the preseason series "looks likely to eventuate." The preseason matches will finish on the weekend of March 10, with McLachlan "flagging" that he would like the AFLW grand final to be played the following weekend, which is a bye for the men before the "season proper," rather than on the weekend of the men's round one. However, that would mean the AFLW season would have to start on the Australia Day long weekend, "increasing the overlap" with the Women's Big Bash League season -- which finishes on Feb. 4 -- and "more pressingly for McLachlan, the conclusion of Melbourne's grand slam event" (THE AGE, 8/10).