AFLW finals rescheduled, Brisbane Lions and Collingwood Magpies to play on Sunday March 27

Brisbane will host Collingwood at the Gabba from 1:05pm AEDT on Sunday, March 27.


The preliminary finals will now take place on Saturday, April 2, with the grand final a week later.

Fremantle defeated North Melbourne on Saturday to guarantee a berth in the preliminary final against Adelaide, while Melbourne are waiting for the result from the Brisbane Lions-Collingwood match.

Magpies head of women’s football Jess Burger told SEN on Friday the club would not forfeit but would need time to assess who was available and their level of fitness once their players left the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. They face a huge task to beat the defending premiers, but Burger said they were up for the challenge.

“As we know, this virus can present itself differently in each individual, so it’s a matter of us monitoring how they come back, and then working with the AFL on the next steps to get a finals series underway,” Burger said.

“[A forfeit] hasn’t been in any of our discussions, nor in the AFL’s or Brisbane’s, we’ve been committed to getting this match away when it’s most safe and appropriate to do so.

“We’re able to engage 10 top-up players, mostly from VFLW standard, and they’ve been coming into the club and training to best prepare themselves, should we need to call upon them if we can’t field a full team of AFLW-listed players,” she added.

Speaking alongside Livingstone at AFL House, executive general manager of finance, broadcasting, and clubs Travis Auld praised the AFLW and its participants for what he said has been “an extraordinary season”.

Daisy Pearce, Nicole Livingstone and Western Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn.Credit:Getty Images

“It’s been an extraordinary season in difficult circumstances but the on-field product has been incredible [and] that’s come through in our ratings and our attendances – it’s something we’re really, really proud of and I can’t wait, like many others, to see the finals series roll out in a what is a wide-open race,” he said.

Auld also praised football supporters for continuing to back their clubs “through an incredibly difficult two years”.

“To come off the back of round 1 of the AFL men’s season with 360,000 people attend the football, it is incredible,” he said.

“We set our expectations really high – we set some really bold and ambitious targets going into round 1. We did so because we felt the need to demonstrate some confidence, and frankly to get people out of their homes and back to the football, not just in this city but right around the country.”

In regards to the AFLW finals fixture change and the current COVID situation in Carlton’s AFL program, Auld said “part of our philosophy is to play when you can, because we don’t know the situation we’re going into”.
“Where we’ve had the opportunity to play, we have done, and that means there might be some gaps between games, but it’s what’s got us to where we are now,” he added.

Auld said he was confident the AFL has the right processes in place to manage the Carlton situation.

“The players and staff are testing regularly, we’re becoming aware of issues as they arise, and we can deal with them as they happen,” he said. “At the moment, the majority of the issues we’re facing are with non-playing staff. We’ve said from day one, we’re going to have some challenges throughout the season – it’s happened pretty early, but we’re going to play on.”

Auld also touched on the scourge of racist social media comments, with a Gold Coast Suns AFL player the latest victim.

“I’ve just become aware of the situation in terms of the racist remarks that were made to one of their players on social media,” he said.

“Unfortunately this is not new, and it’s not going to go away quickly.

“There’s no excuse for it, there’s no room for it. It won’t be tolerated. The challenge remains identifying these people and if we can identify them, there will be consequences and those consequences will be significant. We’ve just got to keep calling it out – any behaviour that’s unacceptable, we’ve got to call our and take action where we can.”

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