March 23, 2017

Lions rip Gabba staff over AFLW grand final debacle

20 March 2017, 10:27 | Pamela Mathis

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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the code was "profoundly disappointed" the grounds would not be available for what would be the first women's grand final, despite weeks of discussions.

More than 25,000 seats were brought onto the pitch for Adele's concerts on March 18 and 19.

The Lions, by virtue of finishing on top of the AFLW ladder with an unbeaten record of 6-0-1, earned the right to host the first Grand Final, where they are set to take on the highly-fancied Adelaide Crows to determine the inaugural AFLW premiers.

The AFLW grand final between Brisbane and Adelaide will be played at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast after the Gabba pitch was deemed unsuitable to host the inaugural title decider.

"For some reason we've got politicians and administrators in the AFL suggesting the wicket is going to be fine for the Ashes (even if they'd played the AFLW grand final at the Gabba)".

"The centre area of the ground is incredibly important for both our sports - and together with the AFL, we will be looking to engage with Stadiums Queensland about future major events at the Gabba, to ensure the turf isn't compromised in this way again".

He pointed out other stadiums did not have issues after their Adele concerts.

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Emily Bates of the Brisbane Lions, left, will not be able to enjoy a home final.

"I would say because we have earnt the right", she said.

The AFL made the decision to give the minor premiers hosting rights to the Grand Final, rather than follow the men's line of holding the Grand Final at the "neutral" MCG regardless of who the participants are.

Mr de Brenni said he backed the decision not to play the final at the Gabba. Unlike other grounds in Australia, the 'Gabba does not use a drop-in pitch area, and as a result ground staff have demanded that the turf gets six weeks off to recover.

"Any surface instability can pose safety risks to players, particularly in a game like AFL where players are sliding or quickly changing direction".

Mr McLachlan said the conditions at the Gabba meant the round two AFL match between the Lions and Essendon was also in doubt.

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