The AFL Women’s Grand Final will be played in Queensland - at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast - after The Gabba was ruled after extensive testing raised concerns about player safety.
Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said that while it was disappointing the Gabba would not be ready in time, he was very pleased that the game would still be held in Queensland.
“I know that all Queenslanders will get behind this outstanding team. They have defied all expectations and really shaken up the competition,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The Grand Final will be an event in its own right. Tickets will be free.
“It will not be curtain raiser for the Q-Clash played at Metricon later that night.
“Transport arrangements are being developed to ensure ease of access for supporters.
“Like all Lions fans I wanted to the see the game played at The Gabba, unfortunately the expert advice came in saying that the risks would be too high.
“The advice is that the Gabba outfield has come up really well but the grass in the wicket area hasn’t rooted enough to be rolled and mowed.
“That means there is an increased risk of twisting and sliding in the centre area and ultimately this is a risk to player safety.
“Extra tests were run this morning simulating player movement and the risk of injury was deemed to be high.
“The advice is that this weekend is unacceptable for safety, posing a high risk of anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
“I back the decisions taken by the AFL and Stadiums Queensland.
“To expose one of these players to a possible career ending injury would be the wrong move.
“Stadiums Queensland and the AFL turned over every stone to see the Gabba host the Grand Final.”
Mr de Brenni said he appreciated the AFL giving the experts more time to assess the state of the turf this morning.
“The regrowth has not been enough and with the added rain the stability of the surface is too great a risk.
“Gabba staff made an amazing effort to prepare the ground. Unfortunately the ground turned out to be few days short of being safe for play.
“The AFL and its CEO Gillon McLachlan worked closely with the government all weekend and I would like to thank them for their commitment to hosting the game in Queensland.”