Disappointed Brisbane Lions marquee Sabrina Frederick-Traub hopes the shock switch of the AFL Women’s grand final to the Gold Coast does not deter fans from flocking to a “once in a lifetime” event.
The AFL was forced to move Saturday’s inaugural women’s premiership decider between hosts Brisbane and Adelaide to Metricon Stadium after the Gabba surface was ruled unsafe.
Lions CEO Greg Swann claimed his club had been “absolutely let down” by Gabba curator Kevin Mitchell’s decision to lay new turf after an Adele concert on March 5 in preparation for November’s first Ashes Test.
Frederick-Traub tried to find a silver lining.
“I was a little bit disappointed,” she said. “For us our home is the Gabba but home is also Queensland.
“I guess we are happy it is still in Queensland because we have been working really hard this season to earn the right for a home grand final.”
Asked if the move would deter fans from driving to the Gold Coast, Frederick-Traub said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We are making history.
“I think everyone in Queensland should really support us because I don’t know if it will happen again.
“If you want to be part of history an hour’s distance isn’t really that much.”
A seething Swann hoped fans overcame their frustration and helped support Brisbane’s women Saturday.
“Our women’s team have earned the right to play this game at the Gabba and we are all flabbergasted that they have now been denied that right,” he said.
“We share the disappointment of our fans who have turned out in their thousands to support the team – we believe a Gabba grand final would have drawn a massive crowd and been a real spectacle.
“We have fought the good fight with the assistance of the AFL and the Queensland Government but this is the decision that has been made, and now we have to make sure our fantastic women’s team has all the support it needs to win the grand final.”
Swann said the Gabba treatment of the Lions showed why a stadium had to be built solely for women’s AFL matches in Brisbane.
“We’ve spoken to the (Queensland) government about not having to be in this situation again,” he said.
“We need a stadium that can cope with good crowds on a consistent basis.”
The Lions women hope to train at Metricon Stadium on Friday.