Matildas Plan To Ride Momentum, Fill 50,000-Seat Stadiums In Australia
They have sold out suburban grounds and now the Matildas are "looking to ride their wave of success by packing out Australia's major stadiums with blockbuster games" against the likes of the U.S. and England, according to Fiona Bollen of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Australia's women's football team has "locked in" friendly matches against China at Melbourne's 30,000-seat AAMI Park and Geelong's 34,000-seat Simonds Stadium in November. If the reaction is "anything like what happened in NSW last week," the Matildas will break the attendance record of 18,600 set by the Opals at the Sydney Olympics for a stand-alone women’s team sport. But Football Federation Australia officials are "dreaming a lot bigger." FFA is "continually holding talks" with the U.S. women's team to "tour Down Under." If that happens, "FFA has Australia’s big stadiums in sight." FFA Head of Women's Football Emma Highwood said, "If we can get a strong opponent, a U.S. or England, one of those kind of nations, and if we market it right, I think the interest would be there." Officials believe a big turnout at AAMI Park would "give them further confidence" that Sam Kerr and company "could draw bumper audiences" to Sydney's ANZ Stadium, Adelaide Oval, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium or the Melbourne Cricket Ground (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/24).
NRL GRAND FINAL: In Melbourne, Chris Barrett reported a National Rugby League grand final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground would draw 100,000 spectators and "be one of the great events in the game's history," Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy argued. Ongoing delays in the finalization of the NSW government's Sydney stadiums plan have "left uncertainty about the location of the NRL competition's showpiece event in coming years" and the Victorian and Queensland governments are "ready to pounce" on any opportunity to host it. Donaghy believes the city is "ready to stage the premiership decider." He said, "If the decision was ever made to transfer the rights to the grand final and open it up to a tender process or bidding process, then absolutely Melbourne could host the grand final tomorrow" (THE AGE, 9/24).