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#Ladiesfirst at Perth Stadium

Tom Fee  September 19, 2017 12:48 PM

In just 145 days time, Fremantle will make their first appearance at Perth Stadium and Freo’s AFL women’s players Hayley Miller and Dana Hooker can hardly contain their excitement.

The AFLW fixture, slated for Saturday 10 February, is likely to be Fremantle’s opening home game of the 2018 AFLW season and be the first football match at the new stadium.

Hooker, Fremantle’s inaugural female club champion, called on all Freo fans to support the occasion.

“We were overwhelmed by the support we received last season with all the people jumping on board to support the women’s side,” said Hooker at the announcement at Perth Stadium on Tuesday,

“We encourage everyone who’s in Perth to get on board and come down and support us. It’s a momentous occasion and we’re excited to play here.”

Hooker said she was blown away after her introduction to the ground.

“It’s the first time we’ve got to walk through the stadium today, it’s amazing,” Hooker said.

“We just walked onto the ground and looked up and the (grandstands) seem almost vertical.

“It’s going to be great from a playing point of view. I can’t wait to get out here and play.”

The current AFLW attendance record of 24,500, made during the 2017 AFLW season opener between Carlton and Collingwood at Princes Park, could be at risk.

Freo fans are expected to flock to the opening of football at the ground after Minister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk announced that entry to the game would cost $2, with proceeds going to charity.

“I’m very pleased to announce that the first football game that’s going to be played at this fantastic new Perth Stadium will be an AFL Women’s game,” said Minister McGurk.

“It’s a fantastic announcement, we want to hashtag it ‘ladies first’ so we’ll see how that goes.

“Our aim is to get 30,000 people here and we’re really confident that we’ll get that.

“If we’re able to achieve those numbers, it will be the biggest single women’s football event played in Australia.”

The chance to run down the wing in front of a record crowd was an exciting prospect for Miller.

“I think it would be a completely different experience,” Miller said.

“Our biggest crowd was 10,000 last season so to play in front of 30,000 would be incredible.”

Fremantle CEO Steve Rosich said the game would be a momentous occasion for Fremantle and acknowledged the support of the State Government, Minister McGurk and Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray. 

“Thank you to Minister McGurk and Minister Murray, it’s great to be here today with this stadium almost complete,” Rosich said.

“We’re really looking forward to getting here for the AFL season in 2018 and with today’s announcement, playing the first football game here at Perth Stadium, an AFLW game featuring our Fremantle Dockers team.

“It is our pleasure and not possible without the support of Minister Murray, Minister McGurk and our State Government. We’re really looking forward to taking centre stage here in February 2018.”

The AFL's general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said both the men's and women's fixtures were yet to be finalised, but the Perth Stadium's debut would come in the second week of the women's competition, and could be Fremantle's first home game. 

"We're in the process of bringing the fixture together for the women and the men at the end of October," Auld said. 

"We'll have each of the seven other teams putting their hand up to be part of this experience, so I imagine, certainly the players of those teams and the clubs themselves will lobby to be part of this special day."

The Fremantle men’s team will also be on hand to show their support on the day, holding a training and signing session ahead of the game.