Players' AFLW stadium calls grow louder

·3-min read

Melbourne star Lily Mithen and Collingwood dynamo Chloe Molloy have added their voices to growing calls for more AFLW matches to be played at enclosed stadiums, citing benefits to the standard of football and overall product.

But AFL women's football boss Nicole Livingstone has declared the cost of such a move prohibitive, meaning the majority of matches will remain at suburban venues for now.

Many AFLW players and coaches believe playing in protected environments such as Marvel Stadium and the MCG has a significant effect on the way games are played.

"When you see games like last Saturday night played at Marvel Stadium between the two new teams in Hawthorn and Essendon, the skill and the game style is just so much better," Mithen told reporters on Wednesday.

"I think for our product the opportunities that playing in stadiums presents is so great and it's probably an investment that we, as players, would love the AFL to continue to make.

"I don't know if there's opportunities for double-headers or triple-headers to eliminate that cost ... but the product of AFLW is so much greater when playing in stadiums."

Molloy attended the match at Docklands and it made her eager to be part of stadium matches with Collingwood.

"For the game to grow we need to be playing on bigger stadiums," Molloy told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have two less players so if we do want to move to stadiums, maybe some rules within the AFLW have to change so we can cover the ground a bit more.

"Being at Marvel Stadium watching women's football being played is pretty surreal and should definitely happen more in the future."

Mithen's call came as Melbourne prepare to host North Melbourne at the MCG on Friday before the men's qualifying final between the Demons and Sydney.

"There's just something about September here at the 'G so to be able to share that with the men's team is something I'm really looking forward to and the group is just pumped about," Mithen said.

"It's a special feeling when you walk out onto the ground.

"You look at the stands and you just know that you're playing at the MCG. It's something that just sort of hits different when you're at this ground."

Friday's fixture had originally been scheduled for North Port Oval but will now be the first AFLW regular-season match played at the MCG.

The significance of the occasion hasn't been lost on North Melbourne or Irish recruit Vikki Wall, who impressed on debut in the Kangaroos' round-one thumping of Gold Coast.

The 24-year-old was a Gaelic football star, helping Meath win the All-Ireland Senior Ladies' final this year in front of 46,000 fans at Croke Park.

"It's an exciting time for AFLW to be playing here (at the MCG)," Wall said.

"Being before the men's final is a good step for AFLW."