WA football will come together for the inaugural RAC Derby in the NAB AFLW competition, which will raise further funds in support of relief and recovery efforts for the devastating Australian bushfires.
All proceeds from ticket sales ($3 each) for the historic clash on Saturday 15 February at Optus Stadium will go towards relief efforts and provide emergency assistance on the ground through the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
Admission will include free public transport, with the State Government waiving costs in support of the event, while Ticketmaster has waived all fees and Optus Stadium has varied the contracted hiring terms.
Funds raised will be in addition to the $2.5m relief package provided by the AFL, AFL Players Association, players and clubs.
West Coast and Fremantle will host online auctions on their individual club websites with a variety of rare items up for grabs, with all proceeds also going to the Red Cross fundraising effort.
Fremantle's online auction will go live on fremantlefc.com.au on Thursday 23 January.
The RAC Derby is expected to generate significant interest in WA football as the first NAB AFL Women’s game played between West Coast and Fremantle, as well as the Eagles’ first home game in the competition.
“All Australians have great empathy for those directly affected by the devastating bushfires that have raged across the country in recent months,” said West Coast Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett.
“There have been so many heart-breaking stories and so many families left to pick up the pieces. Hopefully we can combine with Fremantle to raise significant funds that can assist those people as they begin to rebuild their lives.
“We are grateful to Ticketmaster and the State Government for waiving fees to support the effort.”
Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick said the game would be significant for WA football.
“This isn’t a run of the mill game of footy, the rivalry is already building and I know both clubs are extremely excited about what will be a big event,” Garlick said.
“We are pleased to be in a position to use this historic occasion to come together in support of those doing it tough across the country and I thank the West Coast Eagles for helping to bring this initiative to life.
“The hearts of our players, staff and supporters go out to all of those affected by this tragedy, including the wildlife and the heroes in emergency services who are working tirelessly to protect their fellow Australians.
“While we know this game will not be able to assist all those impacted by this disaster, we hope that our contribution can help in some way.”
Dockers AFLW skipper Kara Antonio said the playing group was motivated to show support.
“As football players, we are very lucky to be able to use our platform to drive awareness and raise some funds and get the message out there that this is a national disaster that we all need to support,” Antonio said.
“We all want to get behind this and do whatever we can as players. I’m very proud that Fremantle and West Coast have jumped on board and we’re sure the first women’s RAC Derby will be one that matches the significance of the occasion.”
West Coast AFLW captain Emma Swanson said the bushfire disaster had been weighing on the minds of the club’s AFLW squad.
“The entire squad has been horrified by the scale and impact of the Australian bushfire disaster,” Swanson said.
“Given that our teammate Maddy Collier’s family resides in the South Coast region of New South Wales, we have all been monitoring the disaster closely, sharing the heartbreak of those who have lost family members or property and celebrating the triumphs of our brave volunteers.
“I am very proud that West Coast and Fremantle have joined forces to raise money for the relief effort.
“I hope a record crowd attends the first women’s RAC Derby at Optus Stadium so we can help those affected by this national tragedy.”
Tickets for the match go on sale through the Ticketmaster platform on Wednesday.
West Coast Eagles and Fremantle AFLW members will have a pre-sale window between 9am and 9.30am, with access for the general public open from 9.30am.
Adult and concession tickets are $3 each, with juniors entering free of charge (junior complimentary tickets must be booked online during the purchase of adult or concession ticket/s).
On game day, the suburban event bus network will operate on a 5-10 minute frequency, with the last bus departing one hour after the final siren.
Special event trains will also operate, including direct special event services on the Fremantle and Joondalup lines.