AFLW finals fixturing draws fire over smaller grounds and clash with Matildas-Sweden game

This Saturday’s AFLW semi-final between Richmond and North Melbourne should be moved to a bigger venue, according to Kangaroos captain Emma Kearney, adding to criticism of the fixture will also clash with the much-anticipated Matildas match against Sweden.

The AFL on Sunday released the fixture for the second week of finals, announcing the Tigers would host the Kangaroos at their home venue of Punt Road Oval on Saturday afternoon at 1:40pm AEDT, before Adelaide plays Collingwood at Unley Oval in Adelaide immediately after at 3:40pm AEDT.

The Matildas and Sweden kick-off in Melbourne at 2:45pm AEDT, which is the first time the national side has played in the city since 2019.

Kearney said Punt Road Oval is too small for the final.

“Richmond would be desperate to play at Punt Road. It’s where they train, they know the ground really well,” the Kangaroos skipper told The W podcast.

“I think if you’re looking for the fans though they’ve got a capacity of 2,500.

“We had over 4,000 at Kardinia Park [on Saturday]. We know that Richmond’s got a big supporter base.

“So I just feel for the supporters that will want to get down to that game and won’t be able to get in.

“I quite like playing at [Princes Park]. It’s got a smaller capacity than [Docklands] but it’s still got that community feel that is AFLW. I would like to see it there.”

Emma Kearny runs to a teammate with her arms out and with a big smile on his face
The Kangaroos beat the Cats last weekend to advance to the semi-final.(Getty Images: Dylan Burns)

Former Hawthorn captain Meg Hutchins agreed.

“Punt Road Oval is not a really family-friendly venue to watch,” said Hutchins, who retired in 2021 and is now a player mentor at the Hawks.

“Kids can’t stand and look over the fence. They actually can’t see over the fence. There’s not a lot of shelter.”

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