By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
The Brisbane Lions AFL Women’s team will increase their geographical footprint in South East Queensland with the chance to play games closer to the city in 2019 hailed as a big boost by Lions’ head coach Craig Starcevich.
For the first time, Brisbane will play one game at Hickey Park this season after recent upgrades to the northside venue by a coalition between the Brisbane City Council, AFL Queensland and Wilston Grange AFC.
Starcevich, who was joined by new captain Leah Kaslar, Brisbane City Council Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Councillor Fiona King at the venue on Wednesday morning, said the players’ familiarity of the ground will be an added advantage against their rivals.
“It’s our first game for points in the city of Brisbane so we’re very thankful for the council and to Wilston Grange for providing the venue and to be a bit closer to home,” Starcevich said.
“It’s the first time we’ve played at a QAFLW venue which is fantastic. There’s a number of our players who play here in the winter. Most of our squad are familiar with the ground.”
Several Lions players are already well acquainted to the facility, including reigning club champion Kate Lutkins and rookie Jaq Yorston, who plied their trade with the Gorillas throughout the 2018 QAFLW season.
The Brisbane City Council have committed $25,000 dollars of support to the ground over the next three years which will likely extend the Lions’ run of AFLW home games at the venue.
The investment will also ensure the ground will be in professional condition by the time of the February 17 game.
BCC Deputy Mayor, Councillor Adrian Schrinner, was proud to welcome the Lions to the venue and said the investment in local sporting facilities within the city has far-reaching benefits.
“It’s been an investment in ensuring this field is right up to standard to host high quality games,” Schrinner said.
“The Council is proud to have been able to work with the local club here to ensure this is a top-grade facility for football.”
“Having a great local facility here for women’s sport will we think attract more women to the sport.”
Hickey Park, located just 10 kilometres from the Lions’ base at the Gabba, will host the team’s Round 3 clash against Melbourne on February 17.
Brisbane’s AFLW season will commence on Sunday, February 3, when they face Greater Western Sydney at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex.