AFL seeks to oust NRL for Perth Stadium opener

An AFL Women’s fixture, and not an NRL rugby league match, could be set to open Perth Stadium next year after the Aussie rules football competition scheduled a game for February 10 at the new state-of-the-art venue.

Last month it emerged that an NRL double-header was set to christen the stadium on March 10, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs having both been pencilled in to face off against to-be-confirmed opponents.

The news was met with criticism from AFL fans, who had hoped that Aussie rules would open the stadium. The 2018 men’s AFL season is not due to start until several weeks after the NRL double-header.

The AFL Women’s season, however, begins earlier than the men’s campaign and a fixture has been organised for February 10, ensuring that the first sport to be officially played at the 60,000-capacity stadium is Aussie rules.

The West Australian newspaper reported that the match is subject to the AFL finalising a stadium deal that will see the West Coast and Fremantle clubs play home matches at the venue.

“We’ll get there,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said. “It’s an amazing stadium, and we’re thankful to the state government very much. I’m sure we’ll get a deal done.”

Perth Stadium officials are due to attend the annual TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit taking place in Barcelona on 28-29 November, to represent the project.

Image: Perth Stadium