AFLW Grand Final 2022: Brisbane Lions at risk of losing home ground advantage after cricket rejects Gabba request

The Brisbane Lions are one victory away from earning hosting rights for the AFLW Grand Ginal, but the minor premiers may be forced to sacrifice their home ground advantage due to a scheduling dilemma.

Following last weekend’s qualifying final victory over Richmond, the Lions will host a preliminary final against Collingwood or Adelaide next weekend, presumably at the Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium.

But it remains unknown where the AFLW grand final, scheduled for the last weekend of November, will be played if the Brisbane-based club emerge victorious.

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Metricon Stadium will be unavailable due to the Festival X Gold Coast concert on November 26, while Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket have confirmed the Gabba is being prepared for upcoming fixtures — a Sheffield Shield match from December 1 and a Test match later that month.

In a joint statement, CA chief executive Nick Hockley and Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson confirmed they had rejected an informal request from the AFL about using the iconic venue.

“We have a huge Test match between two of the world’s top teams at the Gabba next month and the playing surface has been undergoing renovation and recovery since the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup games at the ground,” Hockley and Svenson told News Corp in a statement.

“As part of the preparation, and to ensure the ground is in great shape for the Test match, the next game of cricket will be a Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Western Australia from 1 December.

“We are very aware of the importance of providing the Gabba’s curatorial staff with the best opportunity to produce their usual Test-standard pitch ahead of the series against the Proteas, as well as getting the venue ready for the KFC Big Bash League matches featuring the Brisbane Heat that follow on from that.”

Meanwhile, Brisbane’s new Springfield headquarters reportedly won’t be ready to host games this month.

According to a 9News Queensland report, the league may be forced to relocate the AFLW grand final to Melbourne, with the Lions forfeiting their home ground advantage.

It comes after the AFLW copped heavy criticism for scheduling the Tigers’ upcoming semi-final at Punt Road Oval, which only holds 2800 people, while larger venues, such as Ikon Park in Carlton, were available.

Richmond opted for the “home ground advantage” of Punt Road, with fans locked out of the must-win contest after tickets sold out in just 13 minutes.

The 1.40pm start time was also panned, as it clashed with a Matildas match across the road at AAMI Park and a WBBL double-header at Junction Oval.

“Sometimes you just shake your head,” footy commentator Gerard Healy told SEN.

“The AFLW competition doesn’t generate too many controversies. But given the longstanding battle the AFL have had with Geelong over the scheduling of finals over the years away from the Cattery to the MCG because of bigger crowd numbers, the Punt Road decision was always going to be one – a controversy.

“Brendon Gale said last night that he was entitled to fight hard for his club and give them the best home ground advantage to enable them the best chance to win.

“What happened to the logic applied to Geelong about maximising crowds? There is none. How does it apply to Geelong for a decade and a half, and all of a sudden doesn’t apply to the Tigers?

“It’s baffling, bewildering and I guess disappointing for those who would like to go and now can’t get in.

“It’s just bizarre no explanation has been produced to explain the apparent backflip on a hard line policy.

“There’s been no explanation given and no one available to give an explanation (at the AFL).”

— with NCA NewsWire

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