In news that warmed the otherwise unwarm-able cockles o’ our hearts, it has been made known to us that the AFLW has sold 38,000 tickets to a Round 2 game between the Collingwood Magpies and the Fremantle Dockers for a Saturday night fixture at the shiny new Perth Stadium.
That figure is better than for many AFL fixtures and well ahead of any from last year’s inaugural season of the AFLW. Nine of the men’s sides averaged fewer spectators in the Toyota 2017 AFL Premiership competition for home games.
If it sounds as though we are cheerleaders for the AFLW, it is because we are. When we heard the news, we started leaping and shaking our pom poms vigourously while shouting enthusiastically.
The first game of the AFLW fixture last year, also involving the Magpies, along with the Carlton Blues, drew just under 25,000 people to Ikon Park.
There are still tickets available and both Fremantle and the league are confident that they can boost the number from the current 38,000 level to beyond 50,000, or as many as were present for the official opening of Perth Stadium, where almost 54,000 turned out for the last England – Australia ODI match.
“I’m trying not to think about it too much, to be honest,” Fremantle AFLW captain Kara Donnellan told Fox Sports News. “It’s fantastic for female footy and fantastic for the AFLW, but more importantly I think for Fremantle and women’s footy in WA.To have that many people turn up to a game and hopefully get us over the line, it’ll be pretty amazing. I can’t wait for them all to be cheering for us.I’ll probably feel a bit sick and nervous, but we’re so lucky we get these opportunities to play in front of incredible crowds. Hopefully I’ll get a few seconds to soak it all up.”
In the interest of objectivity, some of the bump may be due to the attraction of a new stadium, but last year’s AFLW Grand Final between Brisbane and Adelaide drew only 15,610, so to have a regular home-and-away fixture attracting the size of crowd that it seems to be is something about which to cheer.
If it is due to the new stadium, well, that is just excellent marketing.
AFLW! Rah! Rah! Rah!