Western Bulldogs defender Laura Bailey expects Saturday’s AFLW practice match in Ballarat to be a precursor to a fully-fledged women’s game for premiership points in the city.
Bailey, who hails from Ballarat, is preparing for her club’s major pre-season hit-out, which will be against Carlton at the redeveloped Mars Stadium this weekend.
The 25-year-old told The Courier that she would love to see the ground host an AFLW fixture in the coming years.
“I see that in the future and I feel like this practice game is just one step forward to creating that even strong er bond between Ballarat and the Western Bulldogs,” Bailey said.
There isn’t any matches scheduled for Ballarat in the second season of the AFLW competition, which gets underway with round one matches in early February.
Bailey said it will be a great experience to play in her old home town in front of friends and family this weekend.
“I’m just really excited. Having older grandparents, it’s great for them and probably for the whole of the Ballarat community that can’t get down to Melbourne to watch the girls,” she said.
I see that in the future..."Western Bulldogs defender Laura Bailey
“I think it’s great for people like that that have the opportunity to drive around the corner and see women’s AFL first hand.”
This Saturday, Bailey is likely to play alongside new Western Bulldogs player Jenna Bruton, who was recruited to the club during last year’s draft.
Bruton hails from Trentham and played plenty of football in Ballarat early in her career.
Saturday’s practice match is set to start at 7pm. Entry is free, with the gates to open from 6pm.
Following this, the Bulldogs will continue preparations for the 2018 season.
The club will take on Fremantle at the Whitten Oval in round one on Sunday, February 4.
Carlton will open the new season against Collingwood on Friday, February 2.