THE 2022 AFLW season will kick off in Frankston next year.
The season opener between St Kilda and Richmond will be played under the new lights at SkyBus Stadium. The action begins on 7 January.
St Kilda FC CEO Matt Finnis said that the redevelopment of the side’s regular homeground in Moorabbin would allow the club to “embrace the opportunity to connect with fans across its southern heartland” by playing in Frankston.
“It’s exciting to add another chapter to our AFLW journey by returning Saints’ footy to the Frankston region,” he said. “SkyBus Stadium played a key role in the establishment of our women’s football program, so to be able to take a home and away AFLW match back to that venue and play under its spectacular new lights will be a very special occasion.”
The St Kilda Football Club has a complicated relationship with the Frankston area. The club moved its training facilities to Seaford in 2009 in a move which cost millions to Frankston ratepayers. Despite signing a 50 year lease, the Saints ended up relocating to Moorabbin by 2018.
Earlier this year St Kilda negotiated its lease with council, with a view of using the Seaford site as a community hub. Mr Finnis said that the game next month would be “a wonderful platform for us to showcase our new partnership with Frankston City Council to redevelop the Linen House Centre in Seaford into a state-of-the-art Healthy Futures Hub.”
St Kilda’s regular home ground in Moorabbin is expected to remain unavailable until February while turf is relaid and a grandstand is built. While that work is underway, the Saints are likely to play out of Frankston.
Trevor Barker Oval in Sandringham may also be considered by the Saints as a temporary home ground.
Mr Finnis said that the football club “couldn’t think of a better way to commence our third AFLW premiership season” than to play in Frankston. “We hope to see as many local residents, St Kilda members and supporters there for round one,” the Saints CEO said.
Frankston Football Club CEO Adrian Lloyd said that the Dolphins are “delighted to welcome AFLW footy to SkyBus Stadium and we are sure that they will be thrilled with the unique facilities we enjoy at our boutique stadium.”
“We look forward to seeing the Saints take to the ground in the opening round of the 2022 NAB AFL Women’s Season and hope to see further matches played at the venue in future.”
Night games at SkyBus Stadium were made possible by the construction of new light towers, which were used for the first time this year. The light towers cost $2.8 million to construct – the federal government contributing $850,000, the state government $650,000, and Frankston ratepayers putting in $1.3 million.